Amid rumors circulating thick and fast about the “deteriorating health” of Putin, major general of Ukraine’s military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov believes the Russian president is using body doubles to avoid exposing himself to the public, according to a report on Newsweek.
In a recent interview with a Ukrainian TV channel, Budanov claimed that during his recent public appearances, Putin’s habits, appearance, gait and even height seem to have changed somewhat.
The intelligence chief gave the example that Putin’s ears look different from those in his earlier photos.
“…It’s like a fingerprint, each person’s ear picture is unique. It cannot be repeated,” he said, without providing concrete evidence to back up his claims.
Budanov further claimed that Putin is “seriously ill” and “it’s not a big secret anymore”.
Ukrainian Major General Vadym Skibitsky had made similar claims in an interview with The Telegraph.
“He uses a lot of doubles… and sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s the real Putin or someone who replaces him,” the general had said.
There has been a lot of speculation about Putin’s health since he ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year.
Several media outlets and independent observers around the world have been closely monitoring Putin’s recent public appearance for signs of health problems and weakness.
In a recent video, Putin appeared unable to use his right arm to swat a mosquito buzzing near his face, while using his left arm to scratch around his head.
In another interview, the Russian president was seen holding the table and slumped while answering the questions.
although Kremlin categorically denied these rumours, speculation has only intensified in recent weeks.