Putin Uses Body Doubles, Isn't in 'Good Health': Ukraine General

Ukrainian Major General Vadym Skibitsky, a top intelligence official, is alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin uses body doubles to cover up his deteriorating health.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, Skibitsky said that Putin is "not in good health physically or mentally" and that members of his inner circle have begun "panicking about his health."

"He uses a lot of doubles...and sometimes it is difficult to detect if it is the real Putin or someone replacing him," the general said.

There have long been speculations surrounding Putin's health, and those theories have only intensified since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied such claims and maintained that "everything is fine" in regards to the leader's health.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "Ukrainian, American and British information 'specialists' have been throwing out various fakes about the state of the president's health in recent months. These are nothing but fakes."

His remarks came in response to fresh speculations that were spurred by a meeting Putin had with Iranian government officials during which he was seen coughing. The Kremlin said that Putin was coughing because he was seated near an air conditioner.

Putin Health Ukraine Body
Ukrainian Major General Vadym Skibitsky said "it is difficult to detect if it is the real Putin" due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's use of body doubles. Above, Putin is pictured during the Navy Day Parade on July 31 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Getty Images

Despite the claims that Putin might be in poor health, Skibitsky said the Russian president remains steadfast in waging the war in Ukraine and is "not likely to stop" anytime soon.

"The main strategic goal remains the same—the total destruction of Ukraine as a state," Skibitsky said to The Telegraph. "He's not likely to stop, he has no room for maneuver. He understands the resistance from Ukraine will remain very strong, therefore he destroys everything he sees as obstacles to this strategic goal."

Over the weekend, new questions emerged about Putin's health after a video showed him unable to use his right arm to swat away a mosquito buzzing near his face, leaving it to rest next to him as he used his left arm to scratch around his head.

Previous reports have also indicated that Putin has had cancer as well as Parkinson's disease, but there has been no concrete evidence that he is ill.

CIA Director William Burns has also shut down allegations about Putin's health. Last month, Burns said that while it was "not a formal intelligence judgment," he thought that the Russian leader was "entirely too healthy."

"There are lots of rumors about President Putin's health and as far as we can tell, he's entirely too healthy," the director said at the Aspen Security Forum.