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Putin Appears In Public Amid Health Rumors

President Vladimir Putin (left) welcomes Patriarch Kirill during a ceremony to mark National Unity Day in Moscow on November 4.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid a wreath at a Moscow monument in ceremonies to mark the National Unity Day holiday in his first public appearance since rumors last week that he was suffering from health problems.

The 60-year-old Putin walked slowly but without assistance to the monument.

A newspaper reported last week that the president had injured himself during a publicity stunt in September in which he flew a motorized hang-glider to guide endangered cranes on their migration.

He canceled a few scheduled foreign trips and has appeared in the Kremlin only a few times in recent weeks.

A presidential spokesman said on November 1 that Putin had a strained muscle in his back but denied the problem was connected with the crane event.

Putin is an avid martial-arts devotee and skier, and carefully cultivates his image as an outdoorsman.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS