Vladimir Putin addressed rumors regarding the identity of his daughters at a marathon press conference Thursday, saying that "they lived in Russia and steered clear business or politics."
Putin, who has been notoriously secretive about his family life, ducked a question about the truthfulness of earlier reports by the news agency Reuters saying that Katerina Tikhonova, a senior Moscow State University employee and avid dancer, was his younger daughter whom he had been sheltering from the limelight.
"[My daughters] live in Russia ... They have never been educated anywhere except Russia. I am proud of them, they continue to study and are working. They speak three European languages fluently," he said.
"They are taking the first steps in their careers, and are making good progress. They are not involved in business or politics."
He added that he had never discussed his family and did not intend to start doing so, citing security concerns.
Reuters reported last month, citing multiple sources who know her, that Tikhonova, who uses her grandmother's surname, had described herself as the wife of Kirill Shamalov, a shareholder in the petrochemicals company Sibur.