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Putin on ice as Russian President swaps skis for skates

Russian President Vladimir Putin has got his skates on for an "all-star" ice hockey game as he continues to promote sports and play down controversies ahead of next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

A day after he took to the ski slopes, Mr Putin picked up a stick and chased the puck in the match, which also involved Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko alongside a host of hockey stars.

Vladimir Putin is doing all he can to promote next month's event, which has been the subject of safety fears and human rights concerns. Credit: Reuters/Alexei Nikolskiy/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
Mr Putin - wearing the number 11 jersey - was on the winning side in the friendly match at Sochi. Credit: Reuters/Alexei Nikolskiy/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
He has eased restrictions on demonstrations in the build-up to the event, which begins on February 7, in an attempt to quieten criticism. Credit: Reuters/Alexei Nikolskiy/RIA Novosti/Kremlin