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Putin and the chief of staff are seen having a tense exchange

Putin and the chief of staff are seen having a tense exchange

Putin and the chief of staff are seen having a tense exchange

Putin and the chief of staff are seen having a tense exchange

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin photographed having awkward conversation with military chief of staff.
  • The pair were inspecting war games in Russia’s Far East, thousands of miles from Ukraine conflict.
  • Analysts pounced on the body language of the Russian leader and his Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin On Tuesday, was photographed having an awkward conversation with his military chief of staff while inspecting war games in Russia’s Far East, thousands of miles away from the conflict in Ukraine.

The military news service Zvezda published video of Putin and Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov entering an observation booth, sitting down with a wide space between them, and maintaining an awkward silence while waiting for Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to arrive.

Gerasimov stroked his hair and shuffled papers, while Putin picked up and peered through a pair of binoculars, nodding briefly in response to a comment from the general.

Political and military analysts on social media pounced on the awkward body language.

“Putin obviously does not want to talk with the commander of the Russian armed forces,” former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted.

In a separate clip, the mood appeared lighter as Putin and Shoigu were shown exchanging a joke while Gerasimov spoke on the phone.

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Gerasimov has been almost absent from public view during the 195 days of Russia’s war in Ukraine, prompting speculation about his standing with Putin and even at times about his health.

Having captured about a fifth of the country, Russia has been fought to a virtual standstill while suffering heavy losses in troops and equipment.

By continuing the four-yearly “Vostok” (East) war games, Putin appeared to be sending a message that Russia’s military can carry on as usual despite the demands of the war.

However, the defence ministry claims that the exercises, which began on September 1, involve only 50,000 troops, a fraction of the 300,000 troops said to have participated in 2018. Both figures, according to Western military analysts, are exaggerated.

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Forces from India and China have participated in the manoeuvres, though it was unclear whether Putin had seen troops from those countries in action.

The defence ministry released video of the naval portion of the exercise on Tuesday, showing Russia’s Pacific Fleet practising launching Kalibr cruise missiles, which it claimed successfully hit a target more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) away.

Russian and Chinese combat ships practised repelling an enemy air attack with air defence artillery systems on Monday. According to the ministry, warships from both countries conducted anti-ship, anti-air, and anti-submarine operations in the Sea of Japan last week.

In February, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a “no limits” partnership, promising to work more closely against the West.

Russia is India’s largest supplier of military hardware, and the exercise took place just days after the US expressed concern about any country conducting such manoeuvres with Russia right now.

According to Moscow, military contingents and observers from Algeria, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria, and six former Soviet republics are also participating in the war games.

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Pro-Russian official in Kherson claims to witnessed heavy Ukrainian attacks
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