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Russia says president Putin is fine, dismissing health rumors

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The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was in good health, dismissing what it called false reports he was unwell.

“Everything is fine with his health,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to a question at his daily briefing.

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“You know that Ukrainian information specialists, and American and British ones, have been throwing out various fakes about the state of the president’s health in recent months - these are nothing but fakes,” he added.

Putin coughed during a public appearance on Wednesday, when Interfax news agency quoted him as saying he had caught a slight cold during a visit to Iran the previous day.

“It was very hot in Tehran yesterday, plus 38 (degrees Celsius), and the air conditioning was very strong there. So I apologize,” Putin, 69, was quoted as saying.

International scrutiny of his health has intensified over recent months, including when he was photographed meeting foreign and Russian officials while seated at opposite ends of long tables as a precaution against COVID. At times he has also appeared to walk stiffly.

Since launching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 he has frequently been in public view, maintaining a full schedule of meetings and calls including two foreign trips within the past month.

CIA Director William Burns was asked about the issue during a security forum in the United States on Wednesday, where he said that Putin was “entirely too healthy.”

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