Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold his annual end-of-year press conference this year, which has been dominated by Moscow’s Ukraine offensive, the Kremlin said on Monday.

 

“There will not be (a press conference) before the New Year,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

 

He added that Putin “regularly speaks to the press, including on foreign visits”. Peskov gave no reason for the break with tradition. Putin, who has been in power since 2000, has held a press conference in December most years of his rule.

 

During the media gathering – a major political event in the country – Putin takes questions from the press and the public in a marathon that usually lasts several hours.

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Last year, he spoke for more than four hours.

 

Elsewhere, the leaders of the G7 club of wealthy nations will hold an online meeting on Monday ahead of a planned summit in Paris on the reconstruction of Ukraine, the German chancellery said.

 

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US will convene for the video conference in the afternoon, according to Germany, which holds the presidency of the group. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold a press conference at 5:30 pm (1630 GMT

 

The summit in Paris on Tuesday will see governments, business and aid agencies come together to look at what immediate assistance they can give Ukraine over the winter.

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It will focus on the energy, health, food, transport and water sectors. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is to attend and President Volodymyr Zelensky will appear via video link.

 

Zelensky tweeted on Sunday that he had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden ahead of the G7 meeting and the Paris summit.

Biden reiterated Washington’s strong support for the war-torn country and welcomed his counterpart’s “openness to a just peace,” the White House said.

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