Published: 6:27 p.m. BST, 2 September 2022 | Updated: 7:23 p.m. BST, 2 September 2022
The sheer concern shown by Vladimir Putin’s armed bodyguards when he “improvisedly” stopped to greet a crowd shows their fears of an assassination attempt on the warmongering Kremlin leader.
Putin stepped out of his official bulletproof Aurus limo for no more than 15 seconds in what could have been a pre-arranged stunt.
But his bodyguards – two close to Putin, and two closer to the crowd, and others not seen by the cameras – seemed agitated by his unusual spontaneous close contact with ordinary people.
The scene took place in Kaliningrad – Russia’s westernmost point, an enclave wedged between NATO countries Poland and Lithuania – with a massive Baltic Sea naval base and missiles aimed at the West.
Putin’s motorcade stopped to greet well-wishers as he left the Nakhimov School, a major naval academy.
Putin is barely visible in the footage, and the Russian president – paranoid about avoiding Covid – did not approach the modest crowd behind a barrier.
Vladimir Putin got out of his official bulletproof Aurus limo for no more than 15 seconds in what could have been a pre-arranged stunt
Putin’s motorcade stopped to greet well-wishers as it left the Nakhimov School, a major naval academy in Kaliningrad
He shouted, “Are you okay?
A voice replied, “It’s all right.
He asked, “Isn’t the governor [of Kaliningrad] offend you?’
“No,” answered the faithful spectators.
“Good luck,” Putin said.
The loyalists then said “goodbye”, “thank you” and “well done” to the incumbent president.
The 5ft 7in Putin momentarily climbed into the doorway of his car to bid farewell over the top of the limo to the small crowd.
Moments later he was whisked away for weekend engagements, meaning he is too busy to attend the funeral tomorrow of the man who changed the world, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
His bodyguards – two close to Putin, and two closer to the crowd, and others not seen by the cameras – seemed agitated by his unusual spontaneous close contact with ordinary people
In years past, Putin met and greeted people, growing closer.
During the war he started against Ukraine, his rival Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front line but Putin rarely ventured into public events.
It has raised questions about Putin’s health, with unverified claims that he has cancer, Parkinson’s disease and schizoaffective disorder.
Next week, he plans to visit war games on the Pacific coast of Russia in an attempt to show that he is active and healthy.
It was previously reported that Putin survived an assassination attempt shortly after his war in Ukraine began, the country’s intelligence chief has claimed.
Vladimir Putin reportedly survived an assassination attempt two months ago, Ukrainian intelligence chief says according to local media
Kyrylo Budanov said Putin was “attacked…by representatives of the Caucasus” – a region that includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and parts of southern Russia.
‘[It was an] Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really happened… It was about 2 months ago,” Budanov said. “I repeat, this attempt failed. This event was not publicized, but it took place.
If true, it would be Putin’s only known assassination attempt since he launched an all-out war against Ukraine on February 24.
Budanov did not directly link the assassination attempt to the war in Ukraine, and Putin has a number of well-established enemies in the region from previous conflicts.