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CIA boss slaps down rumours about Putin's health saying Russian President is 'too healthy'
21 July 2022, 08:09
The head of the CIA says there's no reason to believe rumours about the health of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Williams Burns said Vladimir Putin is "probably too healthy".
Speculation has been rife over Vladimir Putin’s health. The Russian leader turns 70 this year and there have been widespread rumours about him suffering ill health, possible cancer or Parkinson’s.
Mr Burns said there was no evidence to suggest Putin was unwell.
Vladimir Putin's face twitches and legs wobble as he waits for Turkish President
He joked he appeared “too healthy”.
"There are lots of rumours about President Putin's health and as far as we can tell he's entirely too healthy," Mr Burns said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
He said this was not based on formal intelligence.
The CIA chief said Putin is "a big believer in control, intimidation and getting even" and these traits have hardened over the last decade.
The comments come just a day after Putin was filmed twitching and visibly uncomfortable ahead of a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who kept him waiting ahead of a sit down in Tehran.
Putin was seen shifting his weight and with a facial tic as he awaited the arrival of the Turkish President.
Government official Anton Gerashchenko posted on Telegram: "Erdogan made Putin wait during the meeting in Tehran.
"The whole spectrum of emotions of the humiliated and insulted Führer is on his face. The bunker is indeed the best place to stay with such a face."
Anti-Putin Telegram channel General SVR suggested that Putin had needed regular "rest" under medical supervision during his short visit to Iran.
Sir Tony Radakin, the UK's chief of the Defence Staff, has said any claim that Putin is either ill or could be assassinated are “wishful thinking.”
Sir Tony said "I think some of these comments that 'he's not well' or 'surely someone is going to assassinate him', they're wishful thinking."
He said, "nobody at the top [of the Russian government] has the motivation to challenge President Putin" and said the country would continue to threaten the West for years.