Air defences have been set up near Vladimir Putin‘s forest palace days after missiles were deployed by his official residence near Moscow in the latest sign that the Russian leader fears a direct strike from Ukraine.
A Pantsir-S1 defence system has been established near the Valdai presidential palace in Yascherovo, a village halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg.
Similar systems have been set up close to Putin’s official residence in Novo-Ogarevo in the past week, evidently to protect him from Ukrainian drones or missiles.
Russia has also deployed the Pantsir-S1 and S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence systems across Moscow amid fears of a full-scale attack on the capital city.
A Pantsir-S1 defence system has been deployed near Putin’s Valdai presidential palace (left) in Yascherovo, a village midway between Moscow and St Petersburg. Similar systems have been deployed to Putin’s official residence in Novo-Ogarevo in the past week (right), evidently to protect him from Ukrainian drones or missiles
In the latest deployment, Russia has set up a Pantsir-S1 defence system close to Putin’s Valdai presidential palace (pictured) ‘protect him and his family’ from long range Ukrainian attacks
It comes after two suspected Ukrainian drone strikes on two air bases deep inside Russia in December, damaging two nuclear-capable bombers thought to be preparing for an attack on Ukraine.
In the latest deployment, Russia has set up a Pantsir-S1 defence system close to Putin’s Valdai palace to ‘protect him and his family’ from long-range Ukrainian attacks, according to Russian media outlet Agentstvo Novosti.
Putin’s rumoured lover Alina Kabaeva, 39, is known to favour the lavish bolthole at Valdai in Novgorod region. He and Kabaeva are believed to have a young family that have never been seen due to secrecy.
Three servicemen are constantly near the system, which has a rotating radar antenna, the report said.
Similar systems have been deployed in the past week six miles away from Putin’s official residence on the outskirts of Moscow and at prime locations in the city’s centre.
‘These air defence systems protect President Vladimir Putin and his family from a possible Ukrainian strike,’ said the report.
‘This conclusion can be drawn after the air defence system appeared near the Valdai presidential residence.
‘There are simply no other sites for protection there, except for the residence.’
The Pantsir system is designed to protect government and industrial facilities against aircraft, helicopters, precision munitions, cruise missiles and military drones.
A Pantsir missile system is pictured being set up on top of a building in Moscow, Russia. The installations suggest Kremlin officials fear the capital could be attacked
Pictured: A Pantsir missile system (circled) on top of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre – the command base of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – on Frunzenskaya Embankment in Moscow
A video showed the same powerful system being lifted on to a rooftop in Teterinsky Lane, Taganka district, one-and-a-half miles from the Kremlin.
Pro-Russian Telegram channel Military Informant said the deployment was an admission that Moscow, with a 12million population, is now vulnerable and signified that the ‘the military are afraid of a possible strike’.
On Wednesday, photographs also appeared of the modern S-400 missile defence system in two locations, one in fields belonging to the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in the north-west of the city, another on Losiny island in a national park to the north-east where trees were felled for the installation.
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles. It can also be used on ground targets.
On Wednesday, photographs appeared of the modern S-400 missile defence system in two locations
The S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles. It can also be used against ground targets
Putin has deployed Russia’s fearsome S-400 defence missiles to the capital amid fears Ukraine could launch attacks on the city
It is unknown if Putin’s Valdai palace has underground bunkers.
But it has a three-storey spa complex with a ‘personal beauty parlour’ nicknamed the ‘temple to his asceticism’.
Two floors are hidden underground containing a cryo chamber for extreme cold therapy and a mud bath, in a 7,000 square metre (75,350 square ft) relaxation facility.
The spa also holds massage baths, while there is a 25-metre pool surrounded by hot tubs as well as saunas, a Turkish bath and Thai massage podium.
The lakeside estate also includes a stable, golf course, mini-golf course, VIP restaurant with a cinema, bowling, billiard room and even a mini-casino.
The complex is dubbed Putin’s ‘most secret official dacha’.
The home is close to important Orthodox churches which Putin is known to have visited at times of crisis during his 23 years as president or prime minister.
Putin also has a separate clifftop £1 billion palace on the Black Sea which boasts a vineyard and a ‘striptease’ room with a stage and performer’s pole.
There are rumours that Putin and his young family with former Olympic gymnast Kabaeva are now usually based in one of several secret bunker complexes.
It is unknown if Putin’s Valdai palace (pictured) boasts underground bunkers. But it has a three-storey spa complex with a ‘personal beauty parlour’ nicknamed the ‘temple to his asceticism’
The children have not been introduced to the Russian people, and Putin has never confirmed his relationship with Kabaeva.
Ukraine is believed to be seeking to extend its reach with missiles and drones in Russia. One report said the Sokol-300 Punisher drone could hit targets deep inside Russia with a range of up to 2,050 miles.
It has a load of 300kg and can carry guided missiles.
So far Kyiv has struck regions bordering its territory but has made only limited aerial attacks in Russia, though various explosions and fires at energy installations and shopping malls may mean Ukraine has a capacity for sabotage.
Two suspected Ukrainian drone strikes hit air bases in Saratov and Ryazan in December.
The Engels-2 airbase, near Saratov, was hit by an explosion in December that damaged two Tu-95 bombers – aircraft that have been used to carry out airstrikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure.
The base is around 450 miles from Ukraine.
Another explosion at the Dyagilevo military base near Ryazan, about 470 miles from the Ukrainian border, killed three people after a fuel truck detonated.
Despite multiple Russian strikes on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, Moscow has not yet been hit.