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In a strange meeting with top Russian officials, Putin discussed cancer care, tigers and the circus – but the invasion of Ukraine wasn't even mentioned.

Mad Vlad held the bizarre video conference on Monday (25 July), with the apparent intention to discuss the aviation industry.

But it wasn't long before the meeting was sidetracked, as before he could even so much as raise the topic of planes he quizzed Trade Minister Denis Manturov about neon – being told that by Russia may be able to supply a quarter of the world's neon need by next year.

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It was then the turn of Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to be questioned, with cancer care provision the next hot topic – one which has attracted attention since rumours over Putin's own ill health began to swirl.

He told Putin that more oncologists would be trained and appointed as part of a government push to better treat the disease, which will also see more specialist treatment centres created to combat it.

Next it was time to discuss animal welfare and the Russian president was particularly interested to hear about the nation's efforts to protect endangered animals.

He received the happy news that the population of the Amur tiger, native to Siberia but threatened by hunting and deforestation, was on the up, rising from 540 in 2015 to 600 now.

It was only after Putin had addressed the pressing topic of the Russian State Circus and other theatre groups' summer tours that he could at long last move on to discuss aviation, which he said was 'under attack' from Western sanctions.

Artfully dodging the subject of Ukraine, Putin said the West was 'refusing to work with us', putting 'overt political pressure on commercial companies,' a transcript published on the Kremlin website revealed.

Analysts found, not long after the invasion of Ukraine, that the Russian aviation industry risked collapse.

This was down to the EU and America closing their airspaces to Russian aircrafts, with one aviation boss Alexei Butrimov stating the industry was on the verge of 'actual destruction'.

However, in his usual way, Putin talked up the industry and claimed the Russian government had compensated airlines 100 billion rubles (£1.4 billion) for losses on domestic air tickets.

He called on Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev to provide an update on the industry – but the response was not recorded in the transcript on the Kremlin's website.

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  • Vladimir Putin
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