Putin's inner circle worry over his 'coughing fits' and weight loss following medical exam

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According to the General SVR Telegram channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been suffering from coughing fits, nausea and a loss of appetite. The Telegram channel has long claimed Putin is battling with cancer and has said that sources inside the Kremlin say the Russian leader has lost 18lbs.

They claim Putin’s inner circle is worried that his “persistent cough” will be seen as a “sign of the leader’s rapidly deteriorating health”, as Russia continues to attack Ukraine.

On Monday, the Russian president appeared to cough in a clip from a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.

General SVR reported: “Both Putin himself and his relatives, as well as doctors, are worried about the president’s coughing fits, as well as constant nausea and lack of appetite due to medication and a specific diet [for] oncology.

“In the past few months, Putin has lost eight kilograms, and those around the president are worried that the thinness and persistent cough that is noticeable in progress will be regarded by the elites as a sign of the leader’s rapidly deteriorating health.”

They also claimed that the Russian leader had “an attack of severe coughing” during a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

They said: “After Shoigu was disconnected from participating in the video conference, Putin started talking to other representatives of the leadership of the military bloc, but could not continue due to an attack of severe coughing, so much so that the meeting had to be stopped, and the president needed medical help.”

General SVR’s claims could not be verified, but the Telegram Channel was among the first to provide details of Putin’s mobilisation strategy last month.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied rumours on Putin’s health.

It comes as Russia doubled down on its claim – rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies – that Kyiv is preparing to use a “dirty bomb” in Ukraine, saying Moscow would bring the issue to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Russia sent a letter on its assertion about Kyiv to the United Nations late on Monday, and diplomats said Moscow planned to raise the issue with the Security Council at a closed meeting the following day.

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“We will regard the use of the dirty bomb by the Kyiv regime as an act of nuclear terrorism,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council in the letter.

With Ukrainian forces advancing into Russian-occupied Kherson province, top Russian officials had phoned their Western counterparts on Sunday and Monday to air their suspicions.

The foreign ministers of France, Britain and the United States rejected Moscow’s allegations as “transparently false” and reiterated their support for Ukraine.

“The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation,” they said in a joint statement.

Later, the United States issued a warning to Russia.

“We’ve been very clear with the Russians … about the severe consequences that would result from nuclear use,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “There would be consequences for Russia whether it uses a dirty bomb or a nuclear bomb.”

Russia’s defence ministry said the aim of a “dirty bomb” attack by Ukraine would be to blame Russia for the resulting radioactive contamination. The ministry has begun preparing for such a scenario, it said, readying forces and resources “to perform tasks in conditions of radioactive contamination.”

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The UN nuclear watchdog said it was preparing to send inspectors to two unidentified Ukrainian sites at Kyiv’s request, in an apparent reaction to the Russian talk of a “dirty bomb”. It said both sites were already subject to its inspections and one was inspected a month ago.

Russia’s state news agency RIA had earlier identified what it said were the two sites involved in the operation – the Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in central Dnipropetrovsk region and the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv.

US officials said there was no indication Russia had decided to use a dirty bomb or any nuclear weapon.

“We continue to see nothing in the way of preparations by the Russian side for the use of nuclear weapons,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s accusation was a sign it was planning such an attack and would blame Ukraine.

“If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this,” Mr Zelensky said in an address.

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