Vladimir Putin struggling to keep upright as leader’s legs repeatedly buckle during speech

Vladimir Putin's legs appear to buckle as he gives speech

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Vladimir Putin’s leg appeared to buckle as the Russian leader delivered an address at the Kremlin to mark Russia Day. Putin told the assembled guests that the importance of Russian unity and patriotism was “as clear as ever” while a camera caught his legs appearing to wobble as he stood behind the lectern. 

Putin’s legs appeared on the brink of giving way at points during the address with the Russian leader seeming to shift his weight in order to stay level. 

“Our ancestors gifted us this unity, our loyalty to the motherland, and a responsibility for its future,” Putin said.

“We know the strength of these century-old traditions, moral values, and spiritual foundations, which have reaffirmed themselves throughout the entirety of our multi-ethnic nation’s thousand years of history, bringing us together today.

“Our nation has long considered this sincere and deep patriotic sentiment to be sacrosanct.

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“The importance of unity for our people, our society, our country is as clear to us today as ever,” he added.

Putin was speaking on Russia Day which commemorates the formal declaration of the Russian Federation on 12 June 1990 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

It comes as Russian troops swarmed into Sievierodonetsk, as their artillery pounded parts of the city where Ukrainian defenders mounted a desperate rearguard action in the fiercest fighting of a wider battle for control over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

The Russian destruction of a bridge left stranded civilians with just one remaining bridge to escape across a river to the neighbouring city of Lysychansk, which was also being shelled but was still in Ukrainian hands.

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Hundreds of civilians in Sievierodonetsk were sheltering in the city’s Azot chemical plant, creating a scenario similar to the fall of the southern port city of Mariupol, where hundreds of people were trapped for weeks in the Azovstal steelworks.

“Russians continue to storm the city, having a significant advantage in artillery they have somewhat pushed back the Ukrainian soldiers,” said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region.

“The Russians are destroying quarter after quarter,” Gaidai said on Monday.

Russian forces have taken most of Sievierodonetsk, having pulverized parts of the city in one of the bloodiest assaults since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Sunday that Russia was trying to pour military reserves into the Donbas.

“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky said attacks that resulted in child casualties had created a lasting image of Russia for the rest of the world.

“These very facts will underscore the way in which Russia is seen by the world,” he said.

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