Mystery as Putin cancels last-minute tank factory trip

Russian President Vladimir Putin has canceled a visit to a factory tasked with building tanks for the war in Ukraine at the last minute. The industrial city of Nizhny Tagil in western Russia had been cleared of snow ahead of Putin’s visit, and “unprecedented security measures” had been put in place in anticipation. But news of the Russian leader’s cancellation arrived around noon and the fleet of presidential armored cars was standing down.

Local sources said the town had been “preparing for days” the arrival of Putin, with civilians banned from driving on the roads and even the opening of the Christmas tree in the nearby Dzerzhinsky district being cancelled.

Putin was due to inspect the boosted tank and flamethrower production of a factory, which is now using prison labor to meet the increased demand, within the city of Nizhny Tagil.

Urals media outlet E1 said three sources had confirmed his sudden last-minute cancellation, although no reason for his withdrawal was given.

Putin was due to fly to the regional capital Yekaterinburg before visiting the factory in Nizhny Tagil.

E1 reported “unprecedented security measures” in the city ahead of the expected Putin visit.

It said: “Precinct officers will check everyone who has a weapon registered to them, this will be the biggest focus. Special attention is paid to former snipers and sappers, those who dealt with explosives, as well as natives of Ukraine.

“They will look at whether they have weapons and in what condition, where they work and with whom they live, and at their psychological state.

“They will also come with an inspection to residents whose windows overlook the intended route of the motorcade.”

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