Nikita Konkin: Boy who Vladimir Putin kissed on the stomach speaks about the ‘spontaneous’ gesture

An image published by Alexander Litvinenko showed Vladimir Putin lifting the vest of a young boy to kiss his stomach in Moscow

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The Independent Online

The boy pictured being kissed on the stomach by Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly spoken out about the experience.

Nikita Konkin, who was five years old at the time, recounted his strange encounter with Mr Putin with apparent fondness, reports the MailOnline.

The image of Mr Putin lifting Nikita’s vest and kissing his bare stomach was published by the late Alexander Litvinenko, who accused Mr Putin of being a paedophile four months before his murder.

Nikita, now 15, said the kiss was not "ticklish at all"and he "felt something good", and told MailOnline: "I went to him. Putin asked me who I am – and then kissed me. That was it. I was surprised a lot."

His grandmother Valentina, who pushed him in front of the Russian president, recalled the excitement of the day, and said the president was "very highly regarded" in their family.

Nikita was reportedly so besotted with the kiss at the time that he refused to wash his stomach afterwards, according to Russian daily newspaper Izvestia, which tracked the boy down after the kiss occurred.

He reportedly told Izvestia that the pair had mutual affection for one another, and he wishes to be president someday.

According to a report by BBC in 2006, Mr Putin explained the kiss was simply a "spontaneous" gesture of affection.

He told the BBC: "I wanted to cuddle him like a kitten and it came out in this gesture. He seemed so nice. There is nothing behind it."

In the report investigating Mr Litvinenko’s death by poison, an article written by him recounted the meeting between Mr Putin and Nikita, in a square near the Kremlin.

Mr Litvinenko, a former FSB agent, wrote: "Putin kneeled, lifted the boy’s t-shirt and kissed his stomach.

"Nobody can understand why the Russian president did such a strange thing as kissing the stomach of an unfamiliar small boy."

Mr Litvinenko’s accusations of Mr Putin being a paedophile is thought to be one of the motives the Russian government had to allegedly order his assassination.

The former FSB agent also claimed Mr Putin found “videotapes in the FSB Internal Security directorate, which showed him making sex with some underage boys”, which he then hid.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed the report, and a spokesperson said: “We need time to study in detail the contents of this document, and then give a detailed assessment.

“We would like to note that Russia’s position on this issue remains unchanged and is well-known… there was no reason to expect the final report of a politically engaged and highly opaque process to be objective and impartial.”