There have been further reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin's health is declining as Russia plans to annex more of Ukraine, seven months into the war.
The sensationalist reports of Putin's dwindling health have come hand-in-hand with Moscow's efforts to reign victorious in Ukraine.
Russian political scientist Valery Solovey claims Putin's health is continuing to decline and as a result, it has impacted his judgement regarding the war.
He claims Putin's health is "dramatically deteriorating", saying the leader's recent activity does not suggest he is healthy.
Solovey said Putin has access to leader doctors, The Sun reported, adding that everything is being provided to him.
The comments were made by Solovey on Zhivoi Gvozd, a YouTube radio show.
He also claimed all of the decisions Putin has made since the start of the invasion on February 24 are a result of his deteriorating health.
The radio presenter asked Solovey about CIA Director William Burns' comments earlier this year about Putin being "too healthy".
He said the comments were just an example of "Anglo-Saxon sarcasm" and said Americans "know what's happening", according to The Mirror.
There have been claims Putin is in poor health since Russia invaded Ukraine. People have pointed to his changed appearance and there has been claims he has some form of cancer.
Russia's 'dangerous escalation'
It is expected Russia will hold celebratory concerts and rallies on Friday as Moscow plans to annex four provinces in Ukraine following "sham" referendum votes in Russian-occupied areas.
Moscow staged "referendums" in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, where people had cast their votes at gunpoint in some cases.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday the four regions would be folded into Russia during a Kremlin ceremony attended by Putin, where he will apparently give a major speech.
Peskov said the regions’ pro-Moscow administrators would sign treaties to join Russia in the Kremlin’s ornate St George’s Hall.
Putin took the intermediary step of signing decrees on Thursday, paving the way for occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally annexed into Russia.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned the planned annexations were a "dangerous escalation" and could jeopardise prospects for peace.
The US and its allies have already promised more financial support to Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia as the Kremlin duplicates the annexation playbook it followed when it incorporated Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Ukraine has sworn it will reclaim Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.
Russia has pledged to defend its territory, including the newly annexed regions, by all means, including nuclear weapons.
With Reuters and Associated Press
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