- President Vladimir Putin is not unwell despite rumors, Russia’s foreign minister said.
- Ukrainian officials and other sources have spread rumors that Putin is concealing a major ailment..
- But western experts say they have seen nothing that credibly suggests this is true.
Russia’s foreign minister denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unwell after repeated unsubstantiated claims that Putin is hiding an illness.
Sergei Lavrov told French TV station TF1 on Sunday, according to Russian news agency TASS: “President Vladimir Putin makes public appearances on a daily basis. You can see him on TV screens, read and listen to his speeches.
“I don’t think that a sane person can suspect any signs of an illness or ailment in this man.
“I’ll leave it on the conscience of those who disseminate such rumors despite daily opportunities for everyone to see how he and others look like.”
Ex-spies and a Ukrainian official have suggested that Putin is in battling a serious illness. Reports in Russian media have also alleged ill-health over the years — but none of the claims have been supported with verifiable evidence.
“Certainly, from what we’re hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere, is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill,” he said.
“It’s not clear exactly what this illness is – whether it’s incurable or terminal, or whatever. But certainly, I think it’s part of the equation.”
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, also told Sky earlier this month that Putin has cancer and said efforts to overthrow Putin in Russia were underway.
Three US intelligence and military experts told Insider’s John Haltiwanger and Mattathias Schwartz that they were not convinced by the claims that Putin is sick, citing the lack of credible evidence.
Other Russian officials have also denied that Putin is unwell.