Russia's powerful defense minister resurfaced in a short snippet of video footage aired by state media on Thursday after dropping out of public view for days during Russia's war in Ukraine.
Sergei Shoigu, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, was spotted on a split screen of top officials as Putin met his Security Council remotely in footage aired by Russia's RIA news agency.
The 66-year-old minister had not been seen for 12 days, some Russian media outlets said on Wednesday, prompting speculation about his whereabouts, Reuters reported.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov played down that speculation on Thursday, saying that Shoigu had a lot on his plate and it was understandable he was not devoting a lot of time to media appearances.
"The defense minister has a lot on his mind right now. A special military operation is underway. Now is not really the time for media activity," Peskov told reporters.