Putin plays down rumours of his bad health in impressive 72-minute speech

Rumours have been swirling that the Russian leader is in declining health, but Vladimir Putin looked to have great stamina as the 69-year-old delivered an "impressive" 72-minute speech to officials.

The Russian President accused Americans of "declaring they are sent by God to Earth with their sacred interests" during the spiel to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Rumours that Putin is dangerously ill were boosted by a secret US intelligence report that claimed the Russian leader was treated for an advanced case of cancer last month.

A Kremlin insider even revealed earlier this month that Putin had “no more than two to three years” to live.

But today Putin will have been keen to "play down the swirling rumours about his health", Keir Giles, senior fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, told The Mirror.

"A 72-minute speech as a test of stamina, even though it doesn't compare with his previous marathon press conferences, is still going to be impressive for those who said he was at death's door", he continued.

Putin declared in his speech, which was delayed for an hour by a suspected Ukrainian cyber attack, that Russia has hypersonic missiles that no one else in the world has and that sanctions against Russia were a double-edged sword and would only harm the West.

Mr Giles said that Putin is merely demonstrating he is "deep as ever, down the rabbit hole of his own conspiracy theories."

While threats of hypersonic missiles may appear of concern, the rhetoric that we heard in the speech, Mr Giles said, is weirdly familiar.

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Mr Giles continued: "Threats like this sometimes get an excited reaction in Western countries but anybody that has been listening to President Putin for more than the last three months, knows that this is a standard.

"Putin came out with standard Putin-isms. Anybody looking for a change of course, or a realisation of how disastrous Russia's war on Ukraine will be for the country in the long term, will be disappointed."

In the speech, he once again pledged to conquer Ukraine and make it a part of Russia: "All tasks of the special operation will, of course, be solved. And the guarantee of this is the courage and heroism of our soldiers."

Mr Giles said all the Kremlin leader is doing is "driving Russia further down the road of isolation and hostility."

He continued: "Russia is retreating itself into its historical comfort zone of aggression against the rest of the world and against its own population.

"That's bad news, not only for Ukraine but also for Russia's own future. "

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