Putin says he rejected use of body doubles during Chechen war
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Putin says he rejected use of body doubles during Chechen war

Russian president doesn’t elaborate on reasons he declined offer during trip to war zone in early 2000s

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of a working group created to discuss constitutional amendments in Moscow, Russia, February 26, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of a working group created to discuss constitutional amendments in Moscow, Russia, February 26, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he rejected an offer to use body doubles for personal protection during a conflict in Chechnya.

Speaking in an interview with the news agency Tass, a segment of which was released Thursday, Putin said the plan dated back to the early 2000s.

He said that it “came at the most difficult moment of fighting terrorism.”

In the early 2000s, Russia was fighting a war against separatists in Chechnya who also launched attacks elsewhere in the country.

In this file photo taken on March 20, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin, wearing a blue helmet and an oxygen mask, sits in Su-27 fighter jet after his flight into the war zone in Grozny, Chechnya. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

Putin visited troops in Chechnya hours after predecessor Boris Yeltsin stepped down on December 31, 1999.

He later said that a helicopter he was using came under fire during that trip.

Putin also made several other trips to Chechnya while fighting was still raging there.

During one of those trips in March 2000, Putin flew into Chechnya in the seat of a second pilot in a fighter jet.

Putin didn’t elaborate on his motives behind rejecting the proposal to have body doubles.

The 67-year-old former KGB agent who has ruled Russia for more than 20 years also reaffirmed that he has continued to shun a personal cellphone.

He said that he feels “more comfortable” relying on protected communications means and may occasionally use an aide’s phone.

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