Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to cling to the table during a very spaced-out meeting, just days after speculation that he had undergone surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen.
The Kremlin strongman looked bloated as he sat across from Sergey Chemezov, CEO of state-owned defense conglomerate, Rostec, in Moscow in the new footage released by Russian state TV on Wednesday.
At various points throughout the video of the talks, Putin appeared to struggle to hold the conversation and gripped the table.
Concerns over the Russian leader’s ill health have been mounting in the last month, with sources claiming Putin is “very ill with blood cancer.”
Putin reportedly underwent surgery on May 12, according to the Telegram channel “General SVR,” which purports to be run by a former Russian spy.
The channel further claimed Putin’s surgery and subsequent recovery were covered up the following day using “deepfake” technology to simulate his presence in videos of a scheduled meeting of Russia’s security council.
Reports of Putin allegedly battling cancer began to swirl online after an oligarch close to the Kremlin made the claim in a secret recording obtained by New Lines Magazine.
The type of cancer was unspecified, the outlet reported in a story discussing myriad rumors about Putin’s health.
“The recording represents rare testimony by someone with proven ties to the Russian government that its fanatical dictator may well be seriously unwell,” the magazine stated of the comments made during a mid-March discussion with someone described as a “Western venture capitalist.”
“He absolutely ruined Russia’s economy, Ukraine’s economy, and many other economies — ruined [them] absolutely,” the unnamed oligarch said of Putin on the tape. “The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.”
The unidentified source said “we all hope” Putin dies from his cancer or possibly from some intervention such as a coup, to spare Russia from further misfortune.