The still missing Putin ordered military alert, says Russian defense chief

Eleven days after Russian President Vladimir Putin was last seen in public, the source of wide and fantastic speculation about his whereabouts, Defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced Monday that President Putin had ordered nearly 40,000 troops in northern and western Russia to go on full alert as part of snap-readiness exercises. Russians and world media are keyed up at top pitch for the president’s scheduled meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart, President Almazbek Atambayev, in St. Petersburg later Monday. If he turns up, it would be the first time Putin has been seen since March 5, when he appeared in the Kremlin at a meeting with the Italian leader. The Kyrgyz president has arrived in St. Petersburg for the meeting, his office has just said.

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