, MOSCOW, Nov 1 – Russian President Vladimir Putin has shelved trips at home and abroad due to an old injury which he aggravated during his controversial hang-glider flight with cranes, a report said on Thursday.
The president is now undergoing treatment for the injury but the main recommendation of doctors is to refrain from flying which has a negative effect on the spine, the Vedomosti daily said, citing sources close to the Kremlin.
It also quoted a manager at a top energy firm as confirming this was the reason why Putin cancelled a trip in October to Siberia to open the new Bovanenkovo gas field on the Yamal peninsula.
Instead, Putin opened the field on October 23 by pushing the button in Moscow in a live link-up with the far-flung region.
Vedomosti also noted that Putin had been travelling less and less recently and had been increasingly confined to his suburban residence of Novo-Ogaryevo outside Moscow.
A summit of leaders of ex-Soviet states in Turkmenistan has been postponed to December after Putin indicated that he would not be able to come in November.
Meanwhile, media reports have indicated that trips to Bulgaria, India and Turkey that were planned for November have been put back to December. Vedomosti did not give further details on the nature of the injury.
Putin’s aides had confirmed he was suffering from a sports injury when he hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok in September when television pictures clearly showed him limping.
However Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday denied this had any influence on the work of the president, saying the reports were the result of the “stubbornness” of the media.
“We have repeatedly said that such ideas do not have any foundation,” he told the Interfax news agency. “Any sportsman gets injured but this is not a reason for restricting activities.”
Peskov denied the injury was caused by Putin’s hang-glider flight with Siberian cranes to guide them on their winter migration path, a stunt that many commentators see as one of the biggest PR disasters of his rule.
Widely mocked by bloggers at the time, it emerged this month that the endangered birds had failed to migrate south and in the end had to be flown to a wildlife reserve as passengers on a plane.