Rumours have been circulating over the Kremlin leader’s condition since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Many videos have been shared on social media which appear to show Putin gripping onto tables or tapping his foot in a fidgety manner, which some have suggested points to ill health.
Russia expert Fiona Hill, who has worked for a number of US political administrations, even claimed back in March that a sense of “urgency” prompted by his health combined with “personal factors” could have driven the President’s decision to launch a “special military operation” in the first place.
Moscow has denied all claims regarding Putin’s health.
But journalist John Sweeney, who has long covered the Russian President, insists something is not quite right.
In his forthcoming book, Killer in the Kremlin, Sweeney suggested Putin could have damaged his body through steroid use.
He, quoted in Newsweek, asked: “Is it possible that Vlad the Poisoner could have ended up poisoning himself [with the drug]? It is.
“He is not a well man. And that raises a question.
“Would Vladimir Putin, knowing that he has not long to live, kill us all?”
Sweeney added there were clear markers of the leader’s deteriorating health.
She told POLITICO: “We know that he has complained about having back issues. Even if it’s not something worse than that, it could be that he’s taking high doses of steroids, or there may be something else.”
Reports suggest that those critical of the war inside the Kremlin view Putin’s supposed health woes as the only chance of ousting the President from office – and, so, possibly ending the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Officials told Bloomberg not long after the invasion was launched that they felt they could not raise their concerns to Putin directly, believing there was “no chance” of chaining his mind.
Others told news outlet Meduza of their disappointment that “only a major health issue could drive the President from office”.
Some reports even suggest Putin may be suffering from cancer, specifically a type of blood cancer.
These have not been confirmed and, in some cases, have been denied by the Kremlin.