Originally in place to celebrate Stalin’s victory over Nazi Germany, today’s Victory Day in Russia has been used as a method of flexing military muscle and enforcing Putin’s propaganda as his invasion of Ukraine continues to face difficulties. The tyrant may have exposed more weakness than he meant to, with onlookers pointing out the safety vest as he hailed the strength of his army.
Twitter user @expatua observed: “Putin visibly wearing a contoured bullet proof vest under his jacket today.”
Meanwhile, user @propornot also noticed something strange about the despot’s outfit, commenting: “What’s the weird box thing Putin has in his jacket at the parade?
“iPad? Some kind of radio mic? Mini dialysis machine? Analyst bait cardboard box?”
A bulletproof vest appears likely, as two Russian cities cancelled their Victory Day plans altogether for fear of Ukrainian sabotage, and Putin himself has reportedly been struggling with health issues.
After his New Years’ speech, there was also speculation that he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
This claim was refuted by the Kremlin, who described it as “nonsense”.
Russia’s invasion has been substantially stalled by unexpected Ukrainian resistance, with an initial plan to take the capital of Kyiv in a lightning strike failing to achieve its goals.
Invading troops have since relocated to the Donbas region to shore up Russian control in the Eastern parts of Ukraine.
However, this too has been met with fierce resistance, with 2,000 Ukrainian troops of the Azov regiment holding out in the steelworks of the strategically crucial port city of Mariupol, which has been utterly obliterated by continuous Russian shelling.
Poor planning and an inexperienced army have been pointed to by experts as key flaws in Putin’s invasion, leading to miles-long supply lines ripe for ambushes by Ukrainian defenders.
Russian cities Belgorod and Voronezh announced they will not be holding parades or showing off weapons for security fears after both regions experienced a string of unexplained attacks on military infrastructure.
READ MORE: Putin’s own mouthpiece admits riots could erupt ‘tomorrow’ [REVEAL]
Of his Victory Day parade, Lord Dannatt noted he appeared rather “puffy” and struggling to move “freely” as he walked around.
Putin’s strongman image was further shattered by images of him sitting down with a blanket over his lap.
Journalist John Sweeney, currently reporting from Ukraine, tweeted: “Vladimir Putin – a blanket on his knees, his cheeks full, a hamster stuffed with steroids – cuts a weak and enfeebled figure as Russian Army rolls past the Kremlin.”
Meanwhile, the president could also be seen gripping the table, while constantly tapping his foot as if in discomfort, when in a meeting with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu last month.