Putin set to break cover as Russian President expected to leave country despite war

Russia: TV host says the West ‘is provoking us’

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The visits to former Soviet states Tajikistan and Turkmenistan also come after a reported assassination attempt on the Russian dictator. The Kremlin correspondent of Rossiya 1 state television station, Pavel Zarubin, said Putin would visit the central Asian states before meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo for talks in Moscow.

An attempt on the tyrant’s life at the start of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine fell proved to unsuccessful, according to Ukraine’s Chief of Defence Intelligence.

Kyrylo Budanov claimed Putin was attacked in the Caucasus, but the details have been kept secrets since it reportedly happened.

Mr Budanov said in May: “He was even attacked in the line of, as they say, representatives of the Caucasus not so long ago.

“This is non-public information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place… It was about two months ago.”

During his visits, the Russian leader will meet Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon in Dushanbe.

He is a close Russian ally and the longest-serving ruler of a former Soviet state.

In Ashgabat, Putin will attend a summit of Caspian nations including the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan.

Putin also plans to visit the Belarussian city Grodno on June 30 and July 1 to take part in a forum with the country’s President Alexander Lukashenko.

The Russian president’s last known trip outside Russia was a visit to Beijing early in February where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a “no limits” friendship treaty hours before both attended the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games.

News of Putin’s visits come amid reports Russia has defaulted on its foreign sovereign bonds for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution.

Sweeping sanctions have effectively cut the country off from the global financial system and left Russia’s assets untouchable for many investors.

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A US official said on Monday the default showed how dramatically the sanctions were impacting Russia’s economy.

Russia has struggled to keep up payments on £2.5 billion ($40bn) of outstanding bonds since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default, but it is unable to send money to bondholders because of sanctions.

Moscow accuses the West of trying to drive it into an artificial default.

Russia’s finance ministry said “actions of foreign financial intermediaries are beyond the Russian finance ministry’s control”.

It has urged foreign bondholders to speak directly to those withholding the payments.

The ministry said: “The non-receipt of money by investors did not occur because of lack of payment but due to the third party actions and which is not directly spelled out as a default situation by issue documentation.”

Putin has said Western sanctions are a reason to build stronger trade ties with other powers such as China, India and Iran.

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