A man with a sign reading “Happy Birthday Mr President” set himself on fire as Vladimir Putin turned 68.

The 71-year-old businessman was rushed to hospital after self-immolating outside a busy shopping centre in central St. Petersburg, Russia, on October 7, the Moscow Times reports.

He suffered first and second-degree burns to 45% of his body and is in a serious condition.

Eyewitnesses heard him scream out “something about President Putin’s birthday and a gift”, according to Megapolis.

He had run a commercial real estate firm near the site of the incident.

The man has since been placed under observation at a psychiatric institution.

Earlier this month, a Russian journalist burned herself to date during an apparent protest against the government in the city of Nizhniy Novgorod.

He suffered first and second-degree burns to 45% of his body and is in a serious condition

The Russian military successfully tested a Tsirkon missile for Putin’s birthday yesterday.

The hypersonic weapon can travel at up to eight times the speed of sound.

It covered more than 280 miles in 4.5 minutes and destroyed a target in the Barents Sea off Russia’s Arctic coast.

Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, told Putin: “The tasks of the launch were carried out. The test-fire was successful.”

Putin said the test-firing was a “great event not just in the life of our armed forces but for all of Russia”.

Eyewitnesses heard him scream out 'something about President Putin’s birthday and a gift'

He added that such weapons “will without doubt in the long term boost the defence capabilities of our state”.

Meanwhile, a former Olympic gold medallist who reportedly had twins with the Russian leader has disappeared.

Alina Kabaeva, 37, has not been seen since 2018, when she was thought to be two months pregnant.

In April 2019, she reportedly gave birth to boys in an exclusive Swiss clinic.

Concern is growing that Alina is still missing, The Sun reports.

The Russian military successfully tested a Tsirkon missile for Putin’s birthday on October 7

A Moscow source told the newspaper: “Putin is an intensely private man – he has been hiding his two adult daughters under fake IDs for years.

“Even now, though he talks about them occasionally, he never names them.

“If Alina gave birth to his children, her hiding away might be one of the strongest hints pointing to this.

“He is obsessive about the security of his family.”

Putin and Alina have both denied the affair.