Vladimir Putin given 'urgent' medical help 'after sudden weakness and sickness'

10 June 2022, 08:59 | Updated: 10 June 2022, 12:05

Vladimir Putin compared himself and his invasion to Peter the Great and the tsar's battles
Vladimir Putin compared himself and his invasion to Peter the Great and the tsar's battles. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Vladimir Putin was given "urgent" medical help after a "sharp sickness" and "weakness and dizziness", it has been claimed.

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The Russian president was suddenly struck by illness after an hour-and-a-half virtual meeting.

He had to postpone a marathon Q&A where he takes calls from Russians, which was slated for some time in the next two months.

It has been reported that General SVR, a Telegram account The Sun said is purported to be a Kremlin insider, claimed: "The postponement of the live [Direct Line] with the President indefinitely is due to the unstable health of Vladimir Putin.

"A week ago, the president was preparing to answer the questions of the Russian citizens in late June-early July.

"But his doctors advised him not to make any lengthy public appearances in the near future.

"The latest argument in favour of not speaking to the public was an incident after a recent one-and-a-half hour video-link meeting with representatives of the military bloc…

"After the meeting Putin felt a sharp sickness, weakness and dizziness while trying to get up from the table."

The claims cannot be verified independently given the Kremlin’s secrecy surrounding Putin's health.

It follows months of questions and claims about Putin's health, given his apparently trembling arm that is seen in some footage, or an awkward gait when he walks.

Mr Putin's allies like foreign minister Sergei Lavrov have dismissed the claims as propaganda.

It comes after Putin did manage to make a public appearance on Thursday, comparing himself to Russian hero Peter the Great and said his invasion is not about taking land from Ukraine but instead returning what is Russia's.

Putin's historical rants have been attacked
Putin's historical rants have been attacked. Picture: Getty

In a TV appearance, the Russian president said the tsar's war in the early 1700s, which took land from Sweden that St Petersburg was built on, was not about taking any territory but instead recapturing it.

"Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years," he said in his latest ramble on history as he visited an exhibition dedicated to the ruler.

"It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia's)."

He went on: "Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia's) and strengthen (the country). And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face."

Putin has been resoundingly criticised for his takes on history.

James O'Brien speaks to Kyiv-based journalist amid Ukraine war

His past remarks on Ukraine, where he claimed it was a creation from the Soviet Bolsheviks and insisted it is historically part of Russia, have been ridiculed.

The comments will do nothing to allay fears of countries like Finland, the Baltics, Poland, and others that have been dominated or invaded by Russia in the past.

Putin's critics have warned he would like to see the return of the Soviet Union, which controlled eastern European states either directly or via communist pacts and institutions, or the older Russian Empire, which held vast swathes of territory in the same part of the world.

His remarks about "taking back" what he views as Russia's, and claims about Sweden, follows Stockholm's decision to apply for Nato membership with Finland, Russia's neighbour and another country that has fought Moscow for territory in the past.

Both countries joining Nato, a reversal of neutrality that followed the invasion of Ukraine, represents a strategic blow to Putin.

Putin compared his invasion of Ukraine to "taking back what is Russia&squot;s"
Putin compared his invasion of Ukraine to "taking back what is Russia's". Picture: Getty

His bloody invasion of Ukraine, which could have seen him lose more than 20,000 soldiers, failed to take the capital Kyiv and instead he has been forced to focus on seizing all of the eastern Donbas region, where some pro-Russian forces established breakaway regions.

The invaders have captured most of Sieverodonetsk, which is seen as critical to taking the wider region, but have been bogged down by more determined fighting from Ukrainians.

It follows his capture of Mariupol, a city reduced to rubble after the Russians spent weeks trying to seize it.

There are now fears a cholera outbreak could occur as Russia struggles to supply its captured areas with basic services, and the fragile health system risking collapse.

Questions continue to emerge about Putin's health, a closely guarded secret.

But trembling arms, a bloated appearance and a bizarre use of a long table to conduct meetings have generated speculation over his physical and mental health.