Russia: Expert on ‘bringing about Putin’s downfall’
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The Russian President was reported to have made a rare trip abroad to take part in a meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader and Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The three men met to discuss the civil war in Syria, as well as plans to unblock grain shipments from Ukraine. However, Ukrainian sources have suggested that Putin did not attend the conference himself and actually sent his body double instead.
Major-General Kyrylo Budanov told the news channel Ukraine 1+1 that there was something very suspicious about the Russian leader’s gait and movements as he descended the steps of his plane on arrival in Tehran.
The intelligence chief said: “I will only hint.
“Please look at the moment of Putin’s exit from the plane.
“Is it Putin at all?”
The Russian president limped awkwardly as he walked towards a group that included the Turkish president.
Ukrainian sources noted that he seemed to be more alert than usual and that he moved uncharacteristically quickly.
Budanov’s claims were ridiculed by the Russian Embassy in Iran, which dismissed the idea that Putin used a double for his visit as “absurd”.
In a tweet officials wrote: “The Russian Embassy also suggests that this statement was probably made by a body double of Mr. Budanov.”
Putin has admitted that the idea of using a body double was brought up by his security personnel in the past.
The idea was suggested in the early 2000s when Russia was involved in a war with Chechen separatists.
At the time, the Russian leader made several visits to the region, as his troops battled the rebels.
The Russian president, however, said he rejected the offer every time.
In an interview with Russia’s Tass News agency in 2020, Putin was asked by a journalist whether he was “real”.
The journalist said “Putin’s double” and “Putin body double evidence” were among the most popular internet searches associated with the Russian president’s name.
The Russian president confirmed indeed he was “real” before dismissing the notion he ever used body doubles for security reasons.
There has also been huge speculation about the the Russian despot’s health.
Rumours suggesting that Putin is terminally ill with cancer and may have just months to live have been doing the rounds on social media.
Ukraine ‘back on the offensive’: Kyiv claims retaking Kherson region [NEWS]
Arms makers scramble to defeat Putin’s hypersonic missile threat [REVEAL]
‘Barbaric’ Putin attacks port just after grain deal, Zelensky claims [SPOTLIGHT]
However, last week the head of the CIA appeared to debunk the rumours at a security conference held by the Aspen Institute.
William Burns said: “There are lots of rumours about President Putin’s health and as far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy.”
Mr Burns was careful to qualify his remarks, saying they didn’t constitute “a formal intelligence judgment.”
The Kremlin routinely ridicules any speculation about Putin’s health.
Last Thursday, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin felt “fine” and in “good health” before describing speculation to the contrary as “nothing but hoaxes.”
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