Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila announced their divorce after 30 years of marriage, they made this statement on the Russian state television after attending a ballet performance at the Kremlin.

"This is true. All my activities, all my work are linked with publicity. Absolute publicity. Some people like it, some people don't. But there are people who absolutely can't stand it," Putin said.

"This is a civilized divorced. It was a joint decision, we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life," Lyudmila said.

Mrs Putin had rarely been seen in public in recent months, prompting much speculation in Russian media.

She is known to dislike publicity, and told the TV reporter that flying was difficult for her. "Vladimir Vladimirovich is completely drowned in work," she said.

"I am very grateful to Vladimir... that he still supports me. And the children, he really cares for them and the children feel this," she added.

Mr Putin confirmed on TV that the two were no longer living together.

"We are always going to be very close to each other. I am sure, forever," he said.

Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Shkrebneva were married in 1983. They have two daughters Maria and Yekaterina, both in their 20s.

"Our children have grown up, they have their own lives," Mrs Putin added.

She and Mr Putin were last seen together at his inauguration for his third term as president on 7 May 2012.

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