Russia's 'most eligible bachelor' Putin says he is loved and loves in return

Russia's 'most eligible bachelor' Putin says he is loved and loves in return
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi.

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin let slip during his annual news conference Thursday that he "loves" and is loved in return, but refused to reveal the identity of his mystery partner.

Asked by a journalist whether he loved someone, Putin said "I do, I tell you". When asked whether someone loved him back, he said briefly that the person "loves me".

He refused to give any more details, saying: "Everything is in order. Don't worry."

The 62-year-old president is sometimes referred to as Russia's most eligible bachelor after he announced a divorce from his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila, who shared his years as a spy in East Germany.

Putin said on Thursday that he maintains "good, friendly relations" with Lyudmila.

In 2008, a Moscow newspaper reported that he was to marry Alina Kabayeva, a former Olympic rhythmic gymnast 31 years his junior, who was then an MP in the ruling party.

Putin angrily denied the report and the intrusion into his personal life.

The newspaper shut down shortly afterwards.


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