Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appeared in public for the first time in two weeks, according to photos published on Saturday, after an absence that raised questions that the Kremlin has tried to get rid of.
The Defense Ministry released a video on Saturday showing Mr. Shoigu presiding over a meeting devoted to the Russian arms budget.
The photos are undated, but the minister refers to a meeting with the finance minister that Russian agencies say took place on Friday, March 25.
He asserts that orders and the supply of weapons are going as planned “despite the difficulties we are facing today” due to international sanctions imposed in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
On Thursday, the Kremlin reported a conversation between the minister and President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the release of a report on the “progress of the special military operation” at a meeting of the Russian Security Council, sweeping questions raised by the prolonged public absence. Mr. Shoigu is in the midst of armed conflict.
The Kremlin also denied speculation about the minister’s health.
“The defense minister has a lot to do at the moment (…) this is not the time for media activity,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Sergei Shoigu is usually a familiar face on television. He and Vladimir Putin organize regular trips to the Siberian taiga, drive all-terrain vehicles, drink tea or collect mushrooms.
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”