Putin looks unsteady on his feet with his legs shaking as he appears at awards ceremony in latest sign Russian leader is suffering health problems
- The Russian leader appeared to sway while listening to a speech in the Kremlin
- When he stood behind the Kremlin, the shaky president’s legs then buckled
- Putin has been plagued by rumours about his ill health in recent years
Vladimir Putin‘s legs have buckled during a speech in Moscow, adding to the growing rumours of the Russian leader’s health woes.
The president was attending an awards ceremony at the Kremlin on Sunday when he appeared unsteady on his feet.
The 69-year-old swayed back and forth before his speech as Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov acepted a prize.
Vladimir Putin’s legs have buckled during a speech in Moscow, adding to the growing rumours of the Russian leader’s health woes
Then Putin stood behind the podium as he appeared to shake before both legs buckled and he gripped the stand for support.
He managed to continue with his speech and maintain his balance after the slight wobble.
Putin has been plagued by health rumours in recent years amid claims he is suffering from cancer or Parkinson’s, and it is not the first time he has appeared unsteady.
He has previously been seen in footage with a violently shaking hand and also gripping the side of his chair for stability.
Weeks ago, an officer from the Federal Security Service of Russia claimed Putin has ‘no more than two to three years to stay alive’.
The president was speaking at an awards ceremony at the Kremlin on Sunday when he stood at a podium
The 69-year-old swayed back and forth before his speech as Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov acepted a prize
Then Putin stood behind the podium as he appeared to shake before both legs buckled and he gripped the stand for support
An FSB officer described the Russian president’s condition as a ‘severe form of rapidly progressing cancer’, as speculation ramped up that Putin was suffering with some form of serious illness amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin reportedly underwent ‘successful’ cancer surgery and is recovering following advice from medics that treatment was ‘essential’, according to Telegram channel General SVR.
British intelligence sources have also quoted in various media reports telling outlets that Putin’s health was deteriorating.
But Kyiv military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov said previously he fears the Russian leader still has a ‘few more years’ left in him.
His comments suggested the Ukrainians believe Putin is suffering from cancer, but are unclear on how severe the condition could be and to what extent it could impede Putin’s ability to direct Russian military strategy and exert influence over the country.
The major-general also claimed Putin was the target of an assassination attempt shortly after launching his invasion.
He said the abortive bid was by representatives of the Caucasus, but did not release further details.
The report mirrored other claims that top-ranking Russian officials are said to be plotting a government without Putin, with Kremlin sources claiming insiders are already looking for ways to replace the Russian President.
The news outlet Meduza quoted sources claiming that high-ranking officials in Russia’s security services FSB and GRU – referred to as ‘hawks’ – believe Putin has botched the invasion and want to seize control of the operation.
One method of ‘moving things on’ without need for a violent coup would be to place him in a long term hospital for the incurably unwell, suggested former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove.
Rumours in Moscow persist that Putin has undergone recent surgery to treat his illness.
Rumours have been circling for years that Putin (pictured gripping table during a meeting) has health problems, and they have intensified since he launched invasion of Ukraine
But in an interview with French TV, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said no one ‘sane’ could see any signs of illness in Putin, who reportedly has his food tested before eating it and bans his staff from standing too close to him.
‘You can watch him on screens, read and listen to his speeches,’ Lavrov said in comments released by the Russian foreign ministry.
‘I leave it to the conscience of those who spread such rumours.’
It comes after a new report revealed that his bodyguards have been collecting his excrement while on foreign trips in a bid to stop people gathering information about his health.
Federal Protection Service members are ‘responsible for collecting his bodily waste’ in special packets which are kept inside a dedicated briefcase until they return to Russia.
According to two investigative journalists at French news magazine Paris Match, the collection of Putin’s excrement is part of the Federal Protection Service’s job, as they are tasked with protecting high-ranking state officials at whatever cost.
Reporters Regis Gente, who wrote two books on Russia, and Mikhail Rubin, who has covered Russian current affairs for over ten years, say that two examples of Putin excrement collections were of the President’s visit to France on 29 May 2017 and to Saudi Arabia in October 2019.
In both of these instances, it is alleged that Putin either had a private toilet brought along with him during the trips, or that he was accompanied to the bathroom by several guards. Another theory is that he uses a ‘porta-potty’ everywhere he goes.
One other example could be in December 2019, when Putin was spotted going to the toilet with six bodyguards while at a Ukraine summit in Paris.
The Russian leader, 67 at the time, was filmed leaving the bathroom after five bodyguards made sure his surroundings were safe. Another bodyguard walked behind him as he left the toilet in Paris’s Elysee Palace.
Farida Rustamova, an ex-BBC journalist, also confirmed the report by explaining on Twitter that a source of hers, who is reportedly an old acquaintance of Putin’s, said he has been taking his own toilet on foreign trips since the beginning of this rule.
She revealed that she was aware of an incident at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, when actress Julia Louis Dreyfus was told by museum staff that President Putin had arrived with his own private bathroom and a ‘porta-potty’.
A report has revealed that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s Federal Protection Service members are ‘responsible for collecting his bodily waste’ in special packets which are kept inside a dedicated briefcase until they return to Russia. Pictured is a statue depicting Putin on the toilet outside the Russian Embassy in Prague in 2021
It is understood that the excrement collection is a way to stop people gathering information about his health. Pictured at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, when actress Julia Louis Dreyfus was told by museum staff that President Putin (right, with Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz left) had arrived with his own private bathroom
One example of this happening could be in December 2019, when Putin was spotted going to the toilet with six bodyguards while at a Ukraine summit in Paris (pictured)
Intelligence-gathering via excrement collection is not a new venture by a world leader. In 2016, an ex-Soviet agent said he found evidence that Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin had investigated founder of the People’s Republic of China Mao Zedong by analysing his waste matter.
Igor Atamanenko told a Russian newspaper that in the 1940s Stalin’s secret police set up a top secret laboratory to study people’s faeces.
During Mao’s 10-day visit to Russia in the winter of 1949, special toilets were set up for the Chinese leader’s waste products to be collected and studied. Instead of being connected to sewers, those lavatories led to special boxes where Mao’s stolls were whisked off for analysis.
‘In those days the Soviets didn’t have the kind of listening devices which secret services do today,’ he told the paper, according to the BBC.
‘That’s why our specialists came up with the most extravagant ways of extracting information about a person.’