Russian foreign minister denies speculation that Putin is ill
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sought to quell speculation over rumors around Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health, saying on Sunday that “sane” people can see he is in good health.
In an interview with French television news TF1 and LCI, Lavrov shot down speculation that the 69-year-old Russia leader is in ill health and said he is not suffering from any ailments.
Lavrov noted that “President Putin appears in public every day. “
“You can see him on the screens, read his speeches, listen to his speeches. I don’t think sane people can distinguish any symptoms of illness in this man,” he said.
His comments come after former British MI5 agent Christopher Steele — who wrote the highly publicized dossier on former President Trump — told Sky News that, according to sources in Russia and elsewhere, “Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill.”
“It’s not clear exactly what this illness is — whether it’s incurable or terminal, or whatever,” Steele added last week. “But certainly, I think it’s part of the equation.”
New Lines magazine also reported earlier this month that an oligarch who is a Putin ally said in an audio recording obtained by the magazine that the Russian president is “very ill with blood cancer.”
The report added, however, that a secret memo addressed to Russia’s domestic security agency FSB dated March 13 said that regional agency heads should not “trust rumors about the president’s terminal condition,” citing Christo Grozev, the head of investigations at research website Bellingcat.
The reports have not been verified by U.S. intelligence.
The White House and other observers have also sounded an alarm about Putin’s mindset following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year.
In March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a Putin ally, said in an interview that the Russian president “is in better shape than ever” and called him “completely sane.”