Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinReuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin's New Year's address was carried on every Russian television station, but in one - KasKad, based in the city of Kaliningrad - President Putin is only visible from the nose down.

KasKad executives rejected accusations of a political gesture against Putin, declaring the problem to be purely technical. The broadcast of the speech was cut off shortly after it began, although it was streamed in full on the station's website.

"The malfunctions in President Putin's New Year's address were caused by a technical error in the broadcasting equipment. The incident is being investigated, and those at fault will be disciplined. We extend our most sincere apologies to our viewers," KasKad said in a statement. Other elements in Russia are accusing the station of politically motivated sabotage of the President, pointing out how local governor Anton Elyakhnov made a speech only a few minutes before without incident.

Putin used his New Year's address, his longest ever at six minutes, to encourage the Russian people to come together against COVID-19.

"This new, dangerous virus has wholly changed the accepted ways of life, work, and studies, forcing us to adapt in numerous ways, but that's how the world works - there are, inevitably, trials to be faced. It is more important now than ever before that we believe in ourselves, confront challenges, and preserve the unity that is the key to our collective success," Putin said in his speech. "I believe that together we can overcome anything, that we can rehabilitate our country, that we can preserve our way of life, and solve any problem that Russia may face.