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Putin cultivates strongman persona with holiday adventure snaps shown on Russian TV

A Kremlin spokesperson said Putin went rafting in mountain rivers, fished in a waterfall near a mountain lake and went hiking on the holiday.

RUSSIA’S PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin, who loves to cultivate a virile man-of-action image, has been shown on Russian TV spear-fishing in a camouflage wetsuit, piloting a powerboat and catching some rays while on a Siberian holiday.

Putin’s affinity for the tough guy pose has been documented with shots of him bare-chested on horseback, diving in a submarine in Lake Baikal – the world’s deepest – and flipping a Judo opponent.

These latest images, provided by the Kremlin, captured his two-day stay in the remote Tuva area of southern Siberia.

Russia Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin rests after fishing during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region Source: Alexei Nikolsky via Press Association Images

Putin “fished in a waterfall near a mountain lake, indulged in underwater fishing, sunbathed, went rafting in mountain rivers, piloted… motor boats, went hiking and four-wheeler riding in the mountains,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Russia Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin swims during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region a few days ago. Source: Alexei Nikolsky via Press Association Images

The images broadcast on public television, which insisted on “the physical fitness of the president”, show Putin catching a pike in a camouflage wetsuit and sunning his bare torso with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is originally from the region.

Russia Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rest after fishing during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region Source: AP/PA Images

His trip comes days after Putin said the US would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia and warned of a prolonged gridlock in its ties after the US Congress backed new sanctions against the Kremlin.

Putin’s previous made-for-TV exploits, however, have not been without controversy. During a 2011 dive in the Black Sea he allegedly discovered two 15th century amphoras, but the find was mocked in independent media because the vessels were suspiciously without algae or other sea life.

Peskov admitted several months later that the scene had been staged.

© AFP 2017

Read: Trump lashes out over Russia probe after news of grand jury>

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