Putin 'too healthy' – CIA chief
President Vladimir Putin is “entirely too healthy,” CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday, dispelling speculation about the Russian leader's wellbeing.
“There are a lot of rumors about President Putin’s health, and as far as we can tell, he is entirely too healthy. It’s not a formal intelligence judgment,” he said, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum.
The CIA chief’s comments were later echoed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who claimed on Thursday that the Russian leader is in good health. “Ukrainian, US, and British would-be media professionals have been spreading bogus stories about the president’s health condition in recent months. This is all hoax,” he said.
Peskov also addressed the fact that the president apologized for a cough at the Strong Ideas for a New Time forum. The Kremlin spokesman attributed it to overexposure to air conditioning during the Tehran visit. “As for the air conditioners, that’s true, it’s hot outside, 40C, but it’s chilly under the AC. My voice became husky too. Such things happen, no big deal,” Peskov explained.
Earlier this week, Putin made a trip to Tehran for talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The remarks by both Burns and Peskov come after a flurry of speculation in Western media and from officials about Putin being in poor health and purporting that he had undergone a cancer treatment and even survived an assassination attempt. Ukrainian officials have also participated in the conjecturing. In late June, Defense Intelligence chief Kirill Budanov claimed that “Putin doesn't have a long life ahead of him,” citing a supposed Ukrainian spy ring in the Kremlin. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims of ill health.