Vladimir Putins shirtless photos in bizarre calendars of Russian President

Ukraine: Putin tells nervous spy chief to 'sit down'

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Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to attract international condemnation after Russian troops moved into eastern Ukraine earlier this week. Putin also ramped up tensions after he said Moscow recognises separatists’ claims to the entire Donbas region of Ukraine – seen as a major escalation. After Russian troops entered Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson slapped sanctions on the country. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed British sanctions, but said the UK “must be prepared to go further”.

Putin’s aggression in eastern Europe is nothing new – in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in a move that was denounced by international leaders at the time.

While the Russian leader is known for his ruthless politics, he has also attracted attention over the years with his efforts to cultivate a cult of personality in other ways.

This has included the release of calendars featuring images of the president with animals, playing ice hockey or bathing in a lake.

In 2018, The Guardian reported that the calendar was selling very well across Japan.

SoraNews24 claimed at the time that, while some people were snapping up the Putin calendars as a “sort of practical joke,” others were genuinely interested in his life and persona away from the Kremlin.

Media reports in Japan suggested many of the people buying the calendars, including a large number of women, were drawn to Putin’s unconventional style and unashamed machismo.

Over the years, the calendars have shown him doing all kinds of activities.

In 2016, the first year the officially sanctioned calendars went on sale in Japan, Putin was shown fishing shirtless and also practising judo.

Putin’s 2017 calendar featured photos of him playing in the snow with his dogs, including an Akita Inu puppy – a gift from the governor of Akita prefecture in northern Japan.

The highlight of his 2019 calendar was a photograph depicting the Russian taking a plunge at icy Lake Seliger during Epiphany.

Putin has not always needed a calendar as an excuse to pose, however.

In 2009, images were released of him riding a horse topless.

There are numerous other pictures available online of the Russian leader posing for photographs while doing a variety of activities including shooting, diving, talking on the phone, holding animals and playing football.

Many of the images are of the Russian President taking part in sporting activities.

Putin is a fan of ice hockey, and has previously played in matches.

There are also many images of Putin competing in Judo – he is reportedly a black belt.

Putin has generally been viewed favourably in Russia, according to polls.

As Statista explains, in January 2022, about 70 percent of Russians approved of the Putin presidency.

His popularity level saw an increase from the previous month. During the COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020, the rating declined, before increasing again in late summer that year.

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The view of Putin in the West remains negative, however, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warns it is likely the Kremlin’s forces will move to take the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Ms Truss told Sky News’ Kay Burley that a trigger for more punitive measures against Moscow would be a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine.

She said: “Regrettably the Russian forces are encircling Ukraine so we don’t know exactly where that would happen.

“But we will know it when we see it and we will react immediately.”

“We think it’s highly likely that is in his plans.

“This is one of the reasons we have advised British citizens to get out while commercial flights are still available, because the situation is extremely concerning.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “likely to occur within the next 24 hours”.

He said: “The invasion of Ukraine has effectively already begun. They’re acting like thugs and bullies.

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