Kremlin confirms Russian President Putin's divorce final

MOSCOW (AFP) - The Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has finalised the divorce from his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila, following the couple's sudden split last summer.

Mr Putin's official biography, which described him as recently as March 27 as "Married. Wife Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Putina", now states simply that he has two daughters with no mention of a first lady.

The President's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to state-owned Itar-Tass news agency that "the divorce has completed".

The Putins in June of last year delivered a shock announcement that they were splitting up after three decades of marriage, in a choreographed statement to a state television reporter after attending a ballet performance in Moscow.

"It was a joint decision," Mr Putin said at the time, while his wife said that the marriage is over because "we practically never see each other", calling it a "civilised divorce".

Lyudmila Putina had long all-but-vanished from public view, while Mr Putin's two grown daughters have been kept so hidden from the public eye that few people know what they look like.

The private life of Mr Putin, 61, has long been a subject of rumours, with some linking him to Olympic gymnast turned member of the Russian parliament Alina Kabayeva. Those rumours were denied however and one publication that made the connection was shut down in 2008.

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