Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, have announced their divorce  after 30 years of marriage.

The Putins made the statement on state television after attending a ballet performance at the Kremlin.

"It was our joint decision,'' 60-year-old Putin said.

The Putins married on July 28, 1983 and have two daughters, Maria, 27, and Yekaterina, 26.

Putin appeared reserved and 55-year-old Lyudmila smiled tentatively during the  televised announcement of their divorce.

Asked on Rossiya-24 television about longstanding rumours that they no longer lived together, Putin said: "That is true ... We practically never saw each other. To each his own life.'' 

Lyudmila Putin said: "Our marriage is over due to the fact that we barely see each other."

Asked whether they were divorced, Lyudmila Putin said it was a "civilised divorce", but neither clarified whether they were legally divorced and Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he did not know. 

Rumours denied

Putin has denied claims made my a now-defunct Russian newspaper that he was to marry  Kabaeva [Reuters]

"I don't like publicity and flying is difficult for me,'' she said.Lyudmila Putin was rarely seen in public during her husband's long tenure at the top of Russian politics.

Constant rumours have swirled around Putin's private life but until now there has been a total taboo over discussing it in mainstream Russian media.

A Moscow newspaper owned by billionaire oligarch Alexander Lebedev reported in 2008 that he was about to marry Olympic gymnast turned legislator Alina Alina Kabaeva, 31 years his junior.

The report was denied and the publication closed down shortly afterwards.

Bloggers later said that Alina Kabaeva had given birth to Putin's child.

Putin has angrily said there is no truth in any of the allegations concerning Kabayeva and her spokeswoman has refused to discuss what she derided as "nonsense", according to Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Putin and his wife's last public appearance appears to date back to May 2012 after the president was inaugurated for a third term in office.

Source: Agencies