Moscow, February 2: As Russia President Vladimir Putin faces growing pressure from the international community over his military aggression against Ukraine, he also seems to be haunted by the spectre of an assassination attempt. At a campaign rally in Moscow this week, where Vladimir Putin met with 550 of his loyal supporters, a bodyguard was seen holding a briefcase that could transform into a bulletproof shield.

According to a Daily Mail report, the guard of Vladimir Putin was ready to jump on the stage and shield the Russia President from any potential attack, even though the audience had been carefully screened and vetted by the security service. Russia Presidential Election 2024: Russian President Vladimir Putin To Seek Re-Election for His Third Consecutive Term.

Putin Uses Bulletproof Shield Over Assassination Fears

The rally was part of Putin’s re-election bid, which he is expected to win by a landslide in the March 2024 vote. However, his popularity has been eroded by the economic sanctions imposed by the West, the rising inflation and poverty in Russia, and the widespread protests and dissent among the opposition and civil society.

Assassination Bid on Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin has accused the US and its allies of plotting to overthrow Putin and destabilize Russia and has blamed them for the recent assassination attempts on his critics and rivals, such as Alexei Navalny and Sergei Skripal. Putin has also claimed that he has survived several assassination attempts in the past and has increased his security measures accordingly. Vladimir Putin Health Update: Rumours About Russia President's Use of Body Doubles and Ill-Health Were Started by Himself, Claims Ex-MP Ilya Ponomarev.

A source for the Telegram channel VChK-OGPU, which has links to law enforcement agencies, revealed the details of the rally and the bodyguard’s actions. The source said that the Federal Protective Service officer was “preparing to cover Putin with an armoured shield at a specially guarded and checked meeting between him and his ‘trusted persons’.”

The source added that the group of supporters included “business and cultural figures as well as academics and journalists” and that they all “underwent standard quarantine, loyalty checks, as well as the deepest [vetting] from the security service, a thorough search.” The source also said that the bodyguard was “unmoving, holding the briefcase” when Putin spoke but that he “moved towards the chief, ready at any moment to rush in and protect Putin” when the supporters began to stand up and ask questions.

The incident shows the extent of Putin’s paranoia and fear as he faces mounting challenges both at home and abroad. It also raises questions about his legitimacy and stability as he seeks to extend his rule for another six years.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 02, 2024 06:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website