Putin suddenly cancels marathon TV phone-in with Russian callers

Vladimir Putin has abruptly cancelled a live television show which have seen him answer questions from the Russian public.

There is speculation he feared a barrage of ‘hostile’ queries which would surround the war in Ukraine.

No official reason was given for the cancellation.

The ‘Direct Line with Vladimir Putin’ annual show has previously been broadcast since 2004.

The Q&A-style show allows ‘ordinary’ citizens across Russia to send in questions.

The announcement that this year’s broadcast would be cancelled came as a surprise, as the Kremlin previously said it would take place ‘in the foreseeable future.’

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a new date for the annual event is ‘unknown.’

‘The Direct Line cannot take place this month’, he added.

The Direct Line show has run annually during Putin’s presidencies since 2001, with the exception of 2004 and 2012.

In previous broadcasts, he has answered around 70 questions in detail.

Many believe Putin has cancelled due to potential backlash in the form of questions about Ukraine.

This year’s appeal for questions could have led to an influx of questions over Russia’s high death rate in Ukraine or the many military failures in his ‘special military campaign’.

Others have suggested Putin’s declining health could be an explanation for why the Direct Line broadcast was postponed.

It is thought the 69-year-old would struggle to remain on live TV for the proposed three-to-four hour timeframe.

The news comes amid worldwide claims Putin is fighting blood, thyroid or abdominal cancer.

The Kremlin repeatedly has said that his health is robust, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently denied Putin was ill.

Most recently, British intelligence bosses claimed Putin was using body doubles to hide his ill health.

MI6 officials apparently claimed that the Russian President may not have even attended recent events, including the Moscow Victory Day Parade, in person.

Many of his TV interviews and addresses could have also been pre-recorded, one intelligence source told the Daily Star.

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