The woman said to be the long-term girlfriend of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has had twins, according to reports.
Former Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Alina Kabaeva gave birth to boys earlier this month, an article published in Russia claimed.
The story quickly vanished, apparently to protect the personal privacy Putin, 66, guards so jealously.
The notoriously secretive president has repeatedly denied being in a relationship with glamorous Ms Kabaeva, who is 30 years his junior.
But the pair have been linked since 2008 and she was rumoured to have given birth to a daughter at an exclusive Swiss clinic four years ago.
Authorities in Moscow have stayed silent on the “twins”.
But speculation was fuelled by news that an entire floor of an obstetrics research centre had been closed off and an Italian doctor flown in.
Ms Kabaeva, who sometimes appears in public wearing a ring on her wedding finger, has not been seen since October.
In 2013 Putin announced that his 30-year marriage to wife Lyudmila, with whom he is believed to have two grown-up daughters, was over.
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