Russian Defense Minister reappears after 2 weeks absence

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reappeared in television footage broadcast on Saturday, after his two-week absence sparked questions from reporters.

The Defense Ministry released a video showing Shoigu, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, chairing a meeting on Russia’s arms budget.

No date accompanies the footage shown on state television, but Shoigu is referring to a Finance Ministry meeting which Russian news agencies say took place on Friday.

The minister said the arms orders and supplies are going as planned “despite the difficulties we are facing today” due to international sanctions imposed on Russia for its military action in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the Kremlin referred to a conversation between the minister and Putin on the occasion of a report on the developments of the “special military operation” at a meeting of the Russian security council, ruling out speculation about the absence extended from Shoigu.

Shoigu reportedly last appeared in public on March 11 despite his leading role in the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

Some Russian media have speculated that he may have health issues.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, sought to quell such rumours, telling reporters: “The defense minister has a lot to do right now. A special military operation is underway.

“Now is not the time to act in the media,” he added.

The defense minister, 66, appears regularly on state TV shows and has been filmed on Siberian desert expeditions with Putin.

Russia news

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