The Kremlin has brushed off claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ill, after speculative media reports that he’d suffered a cardiac arrest.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also dismissed speculation that Putin has used body doubles to cover for him in public appearances.
“Talk of Vladimir Putin’s health problems is another canard,” Peskov said, according to Russian state-owned news agency Ria.ru, adding that “everything is fine with him.”
Reports, sourced to Telegram channel SVR General which has spread conspiracy theories about Putin’s health and public appearances, were published Monday in multiple British newspapers including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express.
Putin — who has been waging a full-scale invasion against Ukraine since February 2022 — has appeared at meetings inside and outside of Russia in the past week, including at a two-day forum in Beijing which marked the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán were photographed shaking hands, in a picture that sparked international criticism.
Shortly after, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the images of Orbán shaking hands with Putin were “very, very unpleasant.”