New claims suggest Russian President Vladimir Putin's health is deteriorating with ongoing clues reportedly suggesting the dictator is suffering from cancer or thyroid issues.
Rumours have been circulating about the 69-year-old leader's "weakened" state as he continues his war on Ukraine. But recent reports suggest the invasion could have been sparked by his failing physical condition.
An investigation by Russian news outlet Proekt revealed Putin is "constantly" accompanied by a medical team, including an oncologist specialising in thyroid cancer.
The Russian leader takes frequent trips to the resort city of Sochi in the company of doctors from Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, with his entourage increasing since 2016, according to reports.
Among them are two otolaryngologists – ear, nose and throat specialists – who are typically the first to diagnose thyroid diseases and cancers, according to the Russian publication.
It's believed Putin underwent 16 days in isolation in September last year, with the investigation suggesting the leader had undergone a complicated procedure related to thyroid disease.
Other claims made by political analyst Valery Solovei in November suggest the Russian dictator had emergency surgery for cancer and has been showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease, The Sun reports.
Putin's apparent leg movement and finger twitching in a video shared not long after the claims apparently backed this theory.
'Visible signs of unease and discomfort'
The Russian leader's erratic actions may be a sign he will soon "suffer a nervous or physical breakdown as his body takes a beating from the stress emanating from the discordance between his subjective reality and what will soon face him in the real world", Joseph Tecce, an associate professor of psychology at Boston College, told The Sun earlier this month.
Body language expert Erik Bucy, from Texas Tech University, told the publication Putin has seemed more "hunched over" and "uncomfortable" in his recent appearances.
"This is an aged, bloated, physically weakened version who appears to have come out of a long bout of isolation and perhaps physical illness," Mr Bucy said.
It's also been said that Putin has shown "interest in the problem of thyroid cancer" after meeting with the head of the National Medical Research Center for Endocrinology, Ivan Dedov, in 2020.
According to the independent Russian news site Meduza, which was blocked in Russia last month over its reporting on Ukraine, Putin has been experimenting with a non-scientific treatment — an extract made from deer antlers.
The extract supposedly improves the cardiovascular system and rejuvenates the skin, while it has also been claimed to boost "male potency", The Independent said.
The Russian president was reportedly introduced to the idea of bathing in the extract by Sergei Shogu, his current defence minister, with claims it has "a therapeutic effect".
According to claims, the leader immersed himself in a bathtub of this extract on several occasions and it's since become popular among the Russian elites.
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