Moscow, Dec 21 (EFE).- Russian President Vladimir Putin will not deliver his annual state of the nation address this year, the Kremlin announced Wednesday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cited constitutional reasons and the Russian leader’s busy work schedule for the delay in delivering his annual address to the nation.
The statement comes after the Kremlin announced last week that Putin had canceled his traditional year-ending marathon press conference for the first time in his presidency.
Some media are speculating that the Russian president is keen to avoid uncomfortable questions about defeats on the battlefield in Ukraine, particularly given this is an unprecedented move for Putin, who continued to deliver his annual speeches throughout the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
At his daily press briefing, Peskov said the Kremlin would be sharing a date for the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly — a meeting that brings together Russia’s lower and upper houses of parliament, the State Duma and Federation Council — after the festive season.
According to the Russian constitution, the head of state must address both houses of parliament every year to deliver an update on the management of the state, social and economic programs, and plans for the coming year.
Putin delivered his last state of the nation address in April 2021, after deploying over 100,000 Russian troops to Ukraine’s border, a precursor to the war that erupted in February this year with Moscow’s full blown invasion.
The Russian leader has avoided discussing his most recent biggest defeat, the humiliating Russian withdrawal from the northern section of the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, including the regional capital that was annexed by Moscow in September.
Peskov was probed by reporters over whether Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to the United States, announced on Wednesday by the Ukrainian leader on Twitter, could positively influence negotiations with Moscow.
“No,” the spokesman answered concisely.
When asked whether Zelenskyy’s meeting with US president Joe Biden could cause a further escalation of the conflict, Peskov said: “(Washington’s) arms deliveries are still underway and the range of weapons is broadening.”
“This certainly leads to an escalation of the conflict and does not bode well for Ukraine,” Peskov added.
Zelenskyy’s visit to the US is his first trip abroad after the start of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine on February 24.EFE