Putin's rumored girlfriend seen in public for the first time since Western sanctions

Putin's rumored girlfriend Alina Kabaeva has been seen at a gathering for young gymnasts in Sochi.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) hands flowers to Alina Kabayeva, Russian rhytmic gymnastics star and Olympic prize winner, after awarding her with an Order of Friendship during annual award ceremony in the Kremlin 08 June 2001.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's rumored girlfriend has been seen in public for the first time since several Western governments sanctioned her.

Former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 39, was seen at a gathering for young gymnasts at the Black Sea resort city Sochi, as seen in a video published by the Russian outlet IZ.RU.

The video, which can be seen here, shows Kabaeva embracing and speaking with children who are aspiring gymnasts, seen from the 2:28 mark onwards.

Kabaeva has long been rumored to have a romantic relationship and even children with the Russian leader.

In May, she was sanctioned by the UK and Canada and in June by the European Union as part of punitive measures toward Russian businesses and individuals associated with the government following its invasion of Ukraine.

The US has so far resisted calls to sanction Kabaeva too.

Moscow-based newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that Kabaeva had noticeably lost weight when she appeared in Sochi and was dressed casually as she met with children gymnasts.

Since Russia's war in Ukraine started, unverified reports have claimed that Kabaeva has been living in Switzerland.

Kabaeva was last seen in public in Moscow in April.

Putin, 69, is notoriously secretive about his private life and has never confirmed the nature of his relationship with Kabaeva.

Kabaeva was first romantically linked to the Russian leader in 2008 in a report by Moskovsky Korrespondent, which claimed that Putin planned to divorce his then-wife Lyudmila Putina for the gymnast.

Following a successful career as a gymnast, during which she won two Olympic gold medals, Kabaeva became a pro-Kremlin member of Russia's parliament for several years.

In 2014, she was appointed to the state-owned National Media Group board, with a reported salary of $10.5 million a year, according to Page Six.

After she was sanctioned, the details of her salary were removed from open databases, according to the Mozhem Obyasnit Telegram channel, an independent investigative Russian outlet.

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