Putin gives 8th 'large' press conference on Thursday

Over 1,200 Russian and foreign journalists have gathered at the International Trade Center in central Moscow on Thursday to ask President Vladimir Putin their questions during an annual press conference.

The Kremlin expects that members of the press, who have been curious about Putin's health in the past weeks, will be able to see for themselves that he is well, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

"This is what we have been saying for a long time but some still didn't believe us," Peskov, who had repeatedly to deny rumors about Putin's health problems of late, said on Rossiya 24 news television channel on Wednesday.

It is the 8th 'large' press conference for Putin in a presidential capacity. When asked whether Putin is going to set a new record of the press conference's duration, Peskov replied with a smile, "I hope not."

Putin gave seven such press conferences during his previous presidential terms, and each of them was longer than the previous one. Finishing his second presidential term in 2008, Putin answered 100 questions, which took him 4 hours and 40 minutes.

All the previous press conferences took place at the 14th building of the Kremlin, which is now closed for maintenance.

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