Vladimir Putin diving discovery was staged, spokesman admits

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In an uncharacteristically unguarded admission, the Russian prime minister's spokesman conceded that the amphorae had been planted in shallow water for Mr Putin to find by well-meaning archaeologists keen to please the Russian strong man.

"Putin did not find the amphorae on the sea bed that had been lying there for thousands of years," said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman. "That is obvious. They were found during an (archaeological) expedition several weeks or days beforehand. Of course they were then left there (for him to find) or placed there. It is a completely normal thing to do."

The archaeologists had wanted the 58-year-old politician to experience what it was like to be on an expedition, he added....

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