Putin reportedly wears bulletproof vest at public events amid ‘unprecedented’ security — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Putin reportedly wears bulletproof vest at public events amid ‘unprecedented’ security

Putin addresses Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade on Red Square, 8 May 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Putin addresses Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade on Red Square, 8 May 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Vladimir Putin has been wearing body armour at public outdoor events since at least 2023 following the heightening of security measures by his security detail to “unprecedented” levels, The Moscow Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing sources familiar with the Russian autocrat’s security arrangements, The Moscow Times reported that secret service agents now control “practically every aspect of Putin’s life”, with the Kremlin placed on “high alert” since the assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2022 and the attempt on the life of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in May.

Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov had previously told reporters that Putin’s security remained at a “standard level” and that no further measures had been taken to increase his security following the assassination attempt on Fico.

Putin is followed by an “army of visible and invisible guards” and even a “portable lab” that tests his meals for poison, The Moscow Times reported, adding that he wore body armour during his appearance at this year’s Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square in May.

Around “two dozen security guards” and “dozens of special forces officers” were on hand to protect Putin during the ceremony on 9 May, with “dozens of snipers” also stationed on the roofs of buildings surrounding Red Square, The Moscow Times said.

One source told the newspaper that the Kremlin believed Putin’s safety was threatened by Ukrainian drone and sabotage attacks, Islamist radicals, as well as the arrest warrant on war crimes charges that was issued for him in May 2023 by the International Criminal Court.

“Putin is a rather unique leader in that he usually agrees to increased security/expansion of the security perimeter when his guards ask for it”, investigative journalist and security expert Andrei Soldatov told The Moscow Times.

Last week, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, established by the late Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, released an investigation into how Putin rewarded his former bodyguards with “high-ranking positions” in government and allowed them to “use their high status to enrich themselves and their families”.

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