Russia's President Vladimir Putin with a group of World War II veterans and officials walks past the eternal flame in the memorial on Mamayev Hill built to honour those who died in the Stalingrad Battle, in the Russian city of Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, on February 2, 2013, during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the battle. Russia marked today the 70th anniversary of a brutal battle in which the Red Army defeated Nazi forces and changed the course of World War II. AFP PHOTO / POOL/ ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO
Russian President Vladimir Putin during an annual press conference on December 18, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. The national address comes amid growing concerns of a financial crisis as the price of crude oil and Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis are being blamed for plunging the rouble to a record low against dollar and euro.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a visit to the Defence Ministry's newly built control room on December,19, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin held a meeting with senior military officials in the National Defence Control Center today, to discuss plans to modernize the Russian military, including emphasis on strategic nuclear forces.
A woman holds banners against Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest against G20 leaders on November 15, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. World leaders have gathered in Brisbane for the annual G20 Summit and are expected to discuss economic growth, free trade and climate change as well as pressing issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles duriing a meeting with supporters of his presidential campaign on December 10, 2012 in Moscow, Russia. Over 500 authorised delegates attended the meeting; official trustees who supported Putin's candidacy during his presidential campaign.