It’s been almost two weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin was last seen in public, sparking rumors concerning his health and grip on power as he canceled meeting after meeting. On Monday, the Kremlin leader stepped back into the spotlight, attending a meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg. “It would be boring without gossip,” Putin said, addressing the rumors of his health. Before he appeared Monday, the Kremlin had issued a statement from Putin putting 40,000 troops on full alert for military duty as Russian state news agency’s fumbled in reporting scheduled events ahead of time and that Putin was recovering from the flu.
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