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Putin takes part in holiday ice hockey game

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Moscow, Dec 30: Russian President Vladimir Putin laced up his skates here on Saturday for what has become a traditional year-end ice hockey match on Moscow's Red Square.

Joining the president on the ice for the 2019 edition of the annual Night League friendly for charity were officials, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and retired Russian hockey legends such as Pavel Bure and Slava Fetisov.

Putin, an avid skier, only learned how to skate in 2011, a few months before playing in his first Red Square match, Efe reported.

He usually plays in several benefit games every year.

The president scored five goals in a match in May in Sochi, fueling suspicions that opposing players are going easy on him.

"I don't have any special plans, I'll be here in Moscow," Putin told Russia 24 television when asked about his agenda for the week-long New Year's holiday.

"Then I'll see, maybe I'll play some hockey and go skiing," he said.