Russian and foreign press held their breath on Tuesday night as media reports circulated that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu were to address the nation.
The news came after Russian-appointed leaders in the occupied territories of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics announced they would stage referendums on joining Russia in a matter of days.
Russian media website RBK, a business daily with Kremlin connections, reported – citing three anonymous sources – that Putin was due to speak at 8 p.m. local time on Wednesday followed by an address from his Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu.
However, the Kremlin has not confirmed whether the addresses will take place.
After hours of anticipation that the address would take place on Tuesday evening, Russian Telegram channels citing a political analyst close to the Kremlin, Sergei Markov, said that Putin’s address had been delayed.
Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of Russia Today and one of the Kremlin’s main mouthpieces, tweeted: “Go to bed.”
Russian Forbes, citing two anonymous sources, reported that Putin’s pre-recorded address would air once the country’s “Far East wakes up.”