Russia’s top diplomat was again forced to respond to persistent reports in the West that President Vladimir Putin suffers from an undisclosed illness, denying the 69-year-old Mr Putin faces any serious health problems and blaming those questioning his stamina and judgment Powerful people have ulterior motives.
In an interview with French television network TF1 late Sunday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again insisted that Putin was not sick.
“President Vladimir Putin makes public appearances every day,” Lavrov said when asked directly about Mr Putin’s status. “You can see him on the TV screen, read and listen to his speeches. I don’t think a sane person would suspect any sign of illness or disease in this person.”
“While everyone has a daily opportunity to see what he and others look like, I’ll leave it to the conscience of those who spread such rumours,” he added.
Discussions about Mr. Putin’s health are almost taboo in Russia, but outside analysts say in recent videos his face is puffy, his gait is unsteady and at least one of his hands appears to be suspiciously shaking.
For most of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Putin has been largely isolated from major rallies, meeting with Western tourists and even close advisers before and after his Feb. 24 decision to invade Ukraine from a distance from a huge room.
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Kremlin officials have repeatedly tried to refute past reports that Mr Putin is dealing with a major health problem diagnosed with cancer, chronic back pain or Parkinson’s disease.