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Putin cancels New Year’s Eve speech for the first time in a decade

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold his traditional year-end press conference for the first time in at least a decade as Russian troops continue to lose ground in Ukraine.

“As for the annual press conference, yes, there won’t be one before the New Year,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. said on Monday, adding that the president was still expected to speak to reporters, including during foreign visits.

No date has yet been set for Putin’s New Year address to the nation, Peskov added.

In the past, the annual event has gone on for hours, offering Putin the chance to show off his dominance of politics and his grip on power on live national television. The event often had a festive atmosphere, with regional journalists holding up banners to catch Putin’s attention. However, surprise questions were a rarity.

Putin, who turned 70 in November, is also at the center of intense speculation about his health, and was seen swaying on camera in a public appearance earlier this week. Aides have repeatedly denied that he is unwell.

Russian troops continue to experience setbacks in Ukraine for almost 10 months by invading the country. UK Ministry of Defense said today that Ukraine has liberated about 54 percent of the territory captured by Russian forces since February 24.

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