Putin’s strange marriage proposal to ex-wife laid bare: ‘Thought we were breaking up!’

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Tomorrow will mark a month since Russia launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine, yet Putin’s invasion has not gone to plan. According to the US’ Pentagon the situation on the ground remains fluid, though there are signs that Ukrainian forces are fighting back successfully in some areas of the country. Light blue and yellow flags are flying again in Makariv, 40 miles west of Kyiv, after Ukraine’s forces reclaimed the town from Russia, according to local news outlets.

Meanwhile Russian forces have reportedly been pushed back by a combination of volunteers and Ukrainian troops in the farming town of Voznesensk.

Kherson, which was the first city to fall to Russia, has also seen Ukrainian forces try to recapture territory.

Putin has been condemned across the West since launching the invasion of Ukraine, while the EU, US and UK have responded by subjecting Russia to severe sanctions.

The Russian leader has been a central figure on the international stage since first becoming Russian President in 1999 and in that time his relationship with western countries has been fraught with tension.

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Yet very little is known about Putin’s life behind the scenes, with the leader having been extremely secretive about his romantic relationships and ambiguous about the identity of his children.

We do know that Putin married flight attendant Lyudmila in 1983.

The couple had two daughters together, Mariya and Yekaterina, though Putin has never directly spoken about either of them and tries to keep the pair away from the glare of the media spotlight.

Lyudmila and Putin announced their “amicable” separation in a staged television interview in 2013, while the couple divorced a year later.

Yet in the 2000 biography ‘First Person’ Lyudmila shared rare details about her relationship with Putin behind the scenes, including how they first met and how the Russian leader later proposed.

Lyudmila admitted she thought little of the “poorly dressed” man she met outside a theatre while on a double date.

However the couple kept in touch after Putin gave Lyudmila his number and after three years of dating the future President proposed in an extremely subdued manner.

Lyudmila recalled: “One night we were sitting in his house and he said, ‘You know what kind of person I am by now. In general I’m not very easy-going.’

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“He was being self critical.

“He explained that he was the silent type; that he was rather abrupt in some things and he could even insult people, and so on. He was saying he was a risky life partner.

“And he added, ‘In three and a half years, you have probably made up your mind.’

“It sounded like we were breaking up.

“‘Yes, I’ve made up my mind’, I said. He let out a doubtful ‘Yes?’

“Then I was sure that that was it, we were breaking up.

“But then he said, ‘Well then if that is the way it is, I love you and propose we get married’. So it all came as a complete surprise to me.”

According to the Washington Post, Putin once gave his very own “passionless” account on meeting Lyudmila for the presidential website.

Putin said: “I became friends with Lyuda, my future wife.

“I understood that if I didn’t marry for another two or three years, I would never marry.

“Though of course, I had made a habit of leading a bachelor’s life. Lyudmila uprooted it.”

The pair married in July 1983, with pictures of the occasion displaying Putin in a black suit and Lyudmila draped in a long white shawl. 

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