Ukraine’s intelligence chief Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, has claimed the ‘real’ Vladimir Putin has not been seen for more than a year – adding that he does not even know if he’s still alive.
Major-General Kyrylo Budanov in an interview put credence to claims the Russian president uses doppelgängers for public appearances.
Speaking on Saturday, September 2, Budanov said of Putin: ‘The one who everyone used to know was last seen around June 26, 2022.’
Reports that night suggested the Russian strongman had made a late-night drive to the Kremlin for crisis talks with allies, including Belarus’s strongman president Alexander Lukashenko.
Asked by the interviewer whether ‘he is either not alive, or else he is in a really bad health state’, Budanov replied: ‘Or he doesn’t want to appear. There might be so many different reasons.’
The military intelligence chief referred to a recent video of Putin where he appears to glance down at his left wrist to check the time.
Putin is known to wear his watch on his right wrist.
In the video, Putin bizarrely removes the timepiece and fidgets with it in his hand.
Budanov was asked about the clip by TV presenter Anzhelika Rudenko, on Crimea.Realities, linked to Radio Liberty: ‘Is this a real Putin?’
He replied: ‘Let’s leave it to everyone [to decide], so everyone leaves it to their own fantasy.’
The presenter then asks ‘But is this Putin or…’ before Budanov turns the question back on her, prompting her to say she believes it to be a body double.
Budanov then says: ‘So do I.’
He adds that it is ‘not very likely’ the real Putin.
Rudenko goes on: ‘And as for the real Putin, let me ask you directly – is he alive or not?’
The military intelligence chief replied: ‘I don’t know what to answer you.’