Ten months into Russia’s stuttering invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin announced on Monday that President Vladimir Putin will not attend his customary televised year-end news conference this month.
A regular on Putin’s calendar, the event allows him to demonstrate his grasp of the subject and his endurance as he stands alone on a stage in a big auditorium for a question-and-answer session with reporters that can run for more than four hours.
In addition, “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,” a massive annual televised call-in with the general people, was last conducted in June 2021.
On December 23, nearly exactly two months prior to the start of the invasion, the Kremlin denied Ukrainian and American charges that the massing of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the border foreshadowed an invasion.
Putin said during the event that while Russia wanted to avoid war with Ukraine and the West, it needed an “immediate” response to its demands for security guarantees from the United States and its allies.