When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, many wondered: who is Russian President Vladimir Putin?
The Russian politician, 69, has been the president of Russia since 2012. He has worked hard to keep his personal life out of public view.
His family has been thrust into the spotlight with the news that the U.S. will be enforcing sanctions against Putin's two adult daughters.
The White House announced that its latest round of sanctions targets the assets and bank accounts of family members of several prominent Russians in the wake of new accusations of war crimes against Putin in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin wife
Vladimir Putin married former flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva in July 1983. At the time, he was a young KGB agent, and the pair met at a concert in St. Petersburg.
“There must have been something about Volodya [Vladimir], since in three or four months I had decided that he was the very person that I needed," Shkrebneva stated on the Russian president's official website at the time, according to NBC News.
Vladimir Putin kids
Unlike the children of other global leaders, little is known about Putin's daughters and they have stayed off the global stage until recently.
In June 2021, Putin’s youngest daughter, Katerina Tikhonova, appeared via screen as a panelist during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in her role as deputy director of the Institute for Mathematical Research of Complex Systems at Moscow State University.
The "Washington Post" has reported Putin's other daughter, Maria Vorontsova, is a genetics researcher.
President Putin has never publicly acknowledged the identity of his daughters.
Vladimir Putin girlfriend
In 2008, Putin, then 56, responded to reports he had allegedly divorced his wife for a 24-year-old Olympic gold medal gymnast named Alina Kabaeva. Kabaeva was once known as "Russia's most flexible woman."
“Society has the right to know how public figures live,” Putin said, according to the "New York Times." “But even in this case, there is a limit: private life, which no one has the right to trespass. I have always disliked those who, with their infected noses and erotic fantasies, break into other people’s private affairs.”
Shortly after the alleged affair rumors were reported by the Moskovsky Korrespondent newspaper, the publication was suspended.
Vladimir Putin divorce
In 2013, Putin and Lyudmila publicly announced their divorce at a ballet — "Esmeralda" at the Kremlin Palace — just shy of their 30th wedding anniversary. It was the first time the couple had appeared together in public in more than a year and was broadcast by state-owned Russia24 television. The divorce was finalized in 2014.
According to a 2021 article in “Washington Post,” Lyudmila currently resides in France.
Kabaeva is reported to have given birth to four of Putin's children, according to Fortune magazine, including twins in 2015. But beyond the Russian leader's marriage to Lyudmila and the former couple's two daughters, much of Putin’s personal life has remained private and unconfirmed.