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Vladimir Putin has been spotted with his cheget in Russia this week, otherwise known as the "nuclear briefcase" used as a remote control for Russia's nuclear forces.
Two of Putin's security guards were seen to be carrying black suitcases in Volgograd this week as the despot laid flowers celebrating and commemorating Soviet victory in the battle of Stalingrad.
One of the suitcases is widely believed to contain a folding shield to protect Putin in case of an assassination attempt, whilst the other is supposedly the nuclear controls.
READ MORE: Russia identifies target to become 'next Ukraine' in tug of war match with the West
The cheget, named after Mount Cheget in Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, was an idea conceived during Yuri Andropov's Soviet rule in the 1980s.
The briefcase is normally handled by an aide to the ruler of Russia, but is always kept in close proximity to the leader. There are said to be three in existence.
The sighting comes as the Ukraine war near enters its most intense phase yet. According to Ukraine's defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, Russia is preparing a huge step up in war efforts to coincide with its one year anniversary.
Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russian general staff said: “The big battle is coming this spring, or even before.” Ukraine believe this particular battle will come on February 24th.
Ukraine continue to call for weapons from the West as they enter what is feared to be the most difficult attack yet.
Putin wants some form of victory to mark the one year anniversary. The success or failure of the conflict in Ukraine is now believed to define his future.
Reznikov said: "We can’t lose the initiative… We think that, given that [the Russians] live by symbols, they can try something around February 24."
He believes Putin is gathering 500,000 soldiers for this next phase of warfare.
"They officially declared about 300,000, but when we see their troops at the borders, according to our estimates, it is much more," Reznikov continued.
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