Putin started wearing bulletproof vests in public appearance over assassination fears

Vladimir Putin speaks at the Victory Day military parade in Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2024. The Russian president is wearing body armor, according to an analyst, and now always wears it. KARPUKHIN/POOL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Vladimir Putin could be wearing bulletproof vests for public appearances amid fears he might be assassinated. The Russian dictator appeared to be discomforted by the supposed body armour while he walked with ex-defence minister Sergei Shoigu, on Red Square, on May 9, for the annual Victory Day military parade commemorating the defeat of Hitler.

A source close to the Kremlin and two Russian officials said the country’s special services ‘have ramped up the already strict security measures surrounding President Vladimir Putin to an unprecedented degree’. Recent attacks on politicians in Europe and Asia has left the Kremlin ‘rattled’ and it is on ‘high alert’ following the invasion of Ukraine.

Multiple security operatives were seen at the parade when Putin laid some wreaths. Portable body armour in the form of suitcases can also be seen being carried around close to Putin. Jade Miller, a security consultant, said: ‘Putin appears to be walking in a rather rigid manner and there are no natural creases appearing at the back of his overcoat when walking and shaking military personnel hands’.

She added his body frame ‘looks unnatural and his shoulders appear rather wide & square, showing no shape of the back and shoulder blades. ‘At one point a part of his overcoat appears to get caught under what could potentially be a ballistic vest.’ She concluded Putin ‘appears to lift and adjust his shoulders in a way that shows discomfort from how a ballistic vest is designed to sit on the shoulders or collarbone. ‘In my professional opinion, Putin is wearing some form of ballistic protection during his time attending the parade’.

The Russian source said: ‘The Kremlin takes Vladimir Putin’s security very seriously. He is protected by a whole army of visible and invisible guards.’ The source goes on to say that Putin has been wearing body armour at outdoor events ‘since at least 2023’. ‘He has been doing so on the strong recommendation of the Presidential Security Service (SBP), a unit within the Federal Guard Service (FSO) that protects the president,’ the source said.

Putin recently looked unwell and weak while in Belarus amid ongoing rumours of bad health. He seemed frail and off-colour while meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine. The summit took place in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, on Friday.

Previously, the head of the UK armed forces stated that Putin doesn’t want to start World War III because the ‘West is too strong’. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said the situation is ‘a bit more dangerous’ today but there is still an ‘enormous overmatch’ between Nato and Russia, which is ‘failing’ in Ukraine.

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