President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he expected the Russian-made Sputnik V jab to protect him as he started to self-isolate after coronavirus cases were detected in his inner circle. Putin said it will be a “natural experiment” as Russia struggles with stubbornly high coronavirus infection rates and a vaccine-sceptic population. Putin had been due to travel to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe for a regional summit later this week but in a call with President Emomali Rakhmon said he would not be able to attend in person, the Kremlin said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin was “absolutely healthy” but will not be attending in-person events. He did not specify how long the president will be self-isolating for and declined to say who in Putin’s entourage had tested positive. When asked whether Putin had taken a coronavirus test and if it was negative, Peskov replied: “Undoubtedly”.