Putin makes first public appearance in weeks of lockdown in Russia


Russian President Vladimir Putin has made his first public appearance in weeks of coronavirus lockdown to celebrate the country’s national day. He used the Russia Day holiday to promote a controversial reform of the constitution which could keep him in office until 2036. Mr Putin, 67, has dominated Russia for the past 20 years whether as president or prime minister. Moscow lifted lockdown curbs this week despite a huge number of infections. 

But there was confusion as the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, urged people to stay at home during Friday’s holiday and another on 24 June, which marks victory in World War Two. About 510,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Russia, the third-highest number of cases in the world after the US and Brazil. Russia has recorded 6,705 deaths amid accusations of under-reporting by the authorities.(BBC)…[+]