Has Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend given birth in Switzerland?
Rumours that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s girlfriend has given birth in Switzerland continued to gather pace this weekend.
The Russian leader has been unusually silent in the past week, prompting theories that he has secretly flown to be by the side of his supposed partner, Alina Kabayeva (31).
The Kremlin has consistently denied any relationship between 62-year-old Vladimir Putin and the former Olympic gymnast.
One news agency is reporting that Mr Putin, who formally divorced his first wife Lyudmila in 2014, had flown to Swiss Clinic Sant'Anna to witness the birth of his child.
However, reports that Ms Kabayeva had checked into the exclusive clinic near Lugano last week could not be confirmed and the Kremlin denied the former politician had given birth
Ms Kabayeva, one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics, became a Russian MP in 2005, holding the title of State Duma deputy from 2007 to 2014.
Both her and Mr Putin have denied long-standing rumours of a relationship between the pair, but this has not prevented widespread speculation in the Russian media.
In 2008 reports suggested that there were plans for the pair to marry following Mr Putin’s retirement from government.
Mr Putin and Ms Kabayeva separately scotched the news article with Mr Putin claiming “there was not a single word of truth” in it.
However, another popular theory doing the rounds is that Mr Putin has fallen ill. The rumours were sparked after the Russian leader postponed a trip to Kazakhstan, with a Kazakh government official telling Reuters news agency: “It looks like he has fallen ill.”