(Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared on Monday after 10 unexplained days out of public view, laughing off the "gossip" over his health that had erupted during his absence.
The 62-year-old leader met the president of Kyrgystan at a lavish Tsarist-era palace outside St Petersburg in his first appearance since Feb. 5. His unexplained absence had fueled rumors he was ill, had been overthrown by the army or had even flown abroad to attend the birth of a love child.
"It would be boring without gossip," Putin said, smiling easily before television cameras and looking relaxed, if pale, in a dark suit and tie.
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