Russian President Vladimir Putin, wife Lyudmila announce divorce

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila have decided to part ways after nearly 30 years of marriage, for Lyudmila won't stand the pressure of life as the nation's first lady any more.

Putin and Lyudmila announced their divorce in a joint interview on state television on Thursday, after watching the ballet "Esmeralda" in the Kremlin.

Both Putins said the reason for their split was the presidential work, which consumes most of Putin's time and requires a very public lifestyle.

''All my activity, all work is connected to being in the public eye,'' the president said.

''Some people like this, some don't, but there are people who are completely incompatible with this,'' he said, adding that Lyudmila had borne the burden of being a first lady for nine years.

''This really was our mutual decision,'' Lyudmila added. ''I really do dislike life in the public eye and air travel is very difficult for me. And we hardly see each other.''

The Putins, who have two grown-up daughters, however, said the family remains close.

''We all have very good relations, and I'm very grateful to Vladimir Vladimirovich for still being supportive of me, and the children,'' Lyudmila said. ''He takes very good care of the children, and the children always feel this.''

''Lyudmila Alexandrovna and I will always remain very close, I'm sure of it, forever,'' the President said.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the divorce was not official as yet, but acknowledge it remained only a formality now.