Five clues 'bloated and unhinged' Putin could be seriously ill – from his puffy face to professor’s cancer claims

FROM his puffy face to a professor's cancer claims, there are five clues Vladimir Putin could be seriously ill.

It's thought the Russian leader's decision to invade Ukraine might have been sparked by not only his unhinged mental state, but also by a worrying physical health condition.

Putin, 69, was described as "ashen and bloated" in pictures released by the Kremlin.

The Russian president, normally cutting a rugged and manly figure, looked pale and unfit as his forces pounded Ukraine’s cities.

Putin is tight-lipped about his health – but there has been much speculation over the years.

Researchers even claimed they identified signs in Putin's gait which could point to Parkinson's disease.

The Kremlin has not commented on the 2022 speculation that Putin is ill.

But here are five clues puffy-faced Putin could be seriously ill.

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'Bloated' appearance

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Putin has appeared notably more bloated around the face and neckCredit: Reuters

Putin has appeared notably more bloated around the face and neck in recent weeks – suggesting he might be undergoing treatment with steroids for a health condition.

Side effects of steroids include increased risk of infection – which it is claimed could explain his paranoia about catching Covid.

Steroids can also spark "mood and behavioural changes".

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, a high dose of steroids can cause confusion or even changes in thinking.

"This can include having strange or frightening thoughts," the charity says.

Fiona Hill, the British former senior White House expert on Russia, told Politico: "Putin’s not looking so great, he’s been rather puffy-faced.

"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.

"There seems to be an urgency for this that may be also driven by personal factors."

She added: "He may have a sense that time is marching on – it’s 22 years (in power), after all, and the likelihood after that kind of time of a Russian leader leaving voluntarily or through elections is pretty slim.

"Most leaders leave either like Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko thought that he might leave, as the result of massive protests, or they die in office."

Former foreign secretary and medical doctor Lord Owen said changes in Putin's face made it appear he had been taking steroids, which can make you more vulnerable to Covid.

Lord Owen told Times Radio: "Look at his face, see how that has changed – he now has an oval face.

"People who said, oh, it's plastic surgery or Botox, I don't believe that at all.

"He's on either anabolic steroids as a bodybuilder – and he's very proud of his muscles and strips to the waist and everything like that – or he's on corticosteroids.

"If you're on these drugs, this gives you this face.

"It reduces your immunity and makes you more vulnerable to Covid."

He added: "This man has been in complete isolation, quite extraordinary, won't see anybody, stays miles away, tremendous pressures.

"Which indicates he's on a steroid and probably, maybe, a combination of both.

"And we ought to fess up to it, that carries with it, particularly anabolic steroids, bodybuilders, aggressiveness that comes through.

"I think his personality has changed, but don't believe he's mad.

"He's a very clever and able, and somebody who you don't want as an enemy, and he's ruthless."

'Parkinson's disease & cancer'

Political scientist Valery Solovei has previously claimed Putin has cancer as well as symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

He claimed the Kremlin boss had emergency surgery in February 2020

Speaking that year, Prof Solovei said of Putin's twin health traumas: “One is of psycho-neurological nature, the other is a cancer problem.

“If anyone is interested in the exact diagnosis, I'm not a doctor, and I have no ethical right to reveal these problems.

”The second diagnosis is a lot, lot more dangerous than the first named diagnosis as Parkinson’s does not threaten physical state, but just limits public appearances.

“But there is a fatal diagnosis.

“Based on this information people will be able to make a conclusion about his life horizon, which wouldn’t even require specialist medical education.”

Prof Solovei – the former head of the Public Relations Department at Moscow State Institute of International Relations – claims Putin underwent surgery in February that year.

Another Russian source went on to claim it was an abdominal cancer operation.

It was even claimed the Russian leader was planning to announce his Kremlin exit early in 2021.

But at the time, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded it "absolute nonsense" as he insisted everything was "fine" with the president.

The bizarrely long meeting tables

People who are taking immune-suppressing medication, such as cancer patients or those with chronic conditions, are known to be at a higher risk of contracting a severe case of Covid.

And there has been a flurry of speculation over whether this is behind Putin's decision to sit metres away from foreign leaders and even his own colleagues.

In a case of extreme social distancing, Emmanuel Macron was forced to sit at the other end of a 13ft table during a meeting with the Russian president.

Putin's own foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was also seated at the other end of an absurdly long table.

Many of Putin's visitors, including both staff and politicians, have reportedly been forced to quarantine in hotels for two weeks before meeting him.

It was also reported visitors to the Kremlin had to walk through an elaborate disinfectant-spraying tunnel.

His extreme measures have sparked rumours that the leader is terrified of catching Covid because he's vulnerable to a severe infection.

Intelligence claims

Republican senator Marco Rubio – who has access to classified intelligence – raised eyebrows last week when he tweeted that "something is off" with Putin.

The senior politician is on the Senate Intelligence Committee and is not allowed to talk about the information he views.

But in what appears to be a hint, Rubio said Putin was facing a "different and significant" problem.

"I wish I could share more, but for now I can say it’s pretty obvious to many that something is off with Putin," he wrote.

"He has always been a killer, but his problem now is different & significant.

"It would be a mistake to assume this Putin would react the same way he would have five years ago."

He later added that Putin "appears to have some neuro/physiological health issues" – but did not expand further.

Pressure is piling on the US to release any intelligence that might reveal if Putin is indeed ill – with one former White House national security official telling the Telegraph the US should "make it personal".

Putin's race to restore Soviet glory

Putin has been slowly but surely carrying out his grand plans to restore Soviet glory.

In 2008, he invaded Georgia – and six years later, he annexed Crimea.

And under changes to the Russian law made in early 2021, he can now remain president until 2036.

This would give gangster Putin plenty of time for incremental land grabs using what some have dubbed "salami tactics" by taking Ukraine "slice by slice" over a long period time.

Therefore, many have been left puzzled as to why he would take such a huge gamble on taking over the whole of Ukraine in one go – unless he was unwell and had limited time.

It increases the suspicion that perhaps his physical health means he is running out of time.

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