Vladimir Putin watches military parade with blanket over his legs as rumours swirl around tyrant’s health

Vladimir Putin sat watching his meagre military parade with a thick green blanket across his legs as rumours continue to swirl around his health.Vladimir Putin sat watching his meagre military parade with a thick green blanket across his legs as rumours continue to swirl around his health.The Russian president was one of the only attendees using the covering as he sat among elderly World War II veterans while Russian celebrated Victory Day, The Sun reported.Putin was seated wearing a buttoned up black puffer jacket with a victory ribbon tied his chest as he watched soldiers and military vehicles roll by in Moscow’s famous Red Square.But across his legs was a thick green blanket, which had been left for him on his seat when he first arrived at the viewing platform.It is believed to have been around 9C at the time.Rumours persist about the Russian leader‘s declining physical and mental health – with persistent reports he is suffering from Parkinson’s and is due to undergo cancer treatment in the coming months.Putin appears to have not used the heavy blanket at first, moving and tucking it next to him when he first sit down.Vlad then give an 11-minute speech in which he claimed Russia was fighting Nazis in Ukraine, and accused the West of planning to invade Crimea.The slightly blunted address did not match predictions which suggested Putin would either declare victory over Kyiv or order full mobilisation of the Russian army against Ukraine.But after his speech and when the state-controlled cameras pivoted back to him during the parade, Putin could be seen with the thick blanket covering his knees.Putin appeared in reasonable fitness throughout the rest of the parade and even went for an extended walkabout in what may have been an attempt to dispel ongoing rumours about his poor health.Kremlin officials have always denied there is anything wrong with their leader, who turns 70 in October.His use of the blanket did not go unnoticed, with former British diplomat Sir Tony Brenton commenting on it on Sky News.Sir Tony said: “The heavy blanket is an interesting detail. There have been regular rumours of ill health in Putin, which of course have not been acknowledged by the Kremlin. “But he has been locked away as a result of Covid for the last two years and is only now having to re-engage. “Those people who have spoken to him, people like (French President Emmanuel) Macron and the Americans, have reported back less coherence than they are used to getting from him. “So there are reasons to be worried about him. But we need to be a little bit careful about what we wish for.“It comes after a string of strange appearances which have cast doubt on Putin‘s fitness.And in one of the most telling, a slouching and bloated Putin appeared to grip onto a table for 12 minutes as he feet twitched during a meeting with defence chief Sergei Shoigu.Experts have pointed out that Putin looked “weakened” in recent public appearances and has even been seen a doctor who specialises in Thyroid cancer.The report by investigative Proekt media – which is blocked in Russia – states that surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov, of Moscow‘s Central Clinical Hospital, had flown to the Russian leader no less than 35 times in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.The discovery backs recent theories that Putin declared war when he was suffering medical problems hidden from the Russian people. Back in November 2020, political analyst Valery Solovei revealed the cancer and Parkinson’s theory claiming that Putin also needed to have emergency surgery.Video footage showed Putin‘s leg moving constantly and his fingers twitching, backing the Parkinson’s theory.Putin also suffered a coughing fit during a televised meeting but the claims about his health were disputed by Kremlin.The report continues to identify medics who regularly travel with Putin on trips, especially to the Black Sea resort of Sochi which he prefers to Moscow. Alongside Selivanov, the Russian leader is also followed by a neurosurgeon.Another surgeon Dr Alexey Shcheglov “follows Putin so relentlessly that during public events he allegedly gets into joint photographs with the head of state”. It is believed the Kremlin tightly controls Putin’s appearances – including even putting time limits on his meetings to try and maintain his strongman persona.During his speech, Putin said the war in Ukraine had been necessary because the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea”.Ben Wallace the UK Defence Secretary, said Putin was trying to intimidate the world with the annual parade.In a speech at the National Army Museum in London, Wallace said: “Really what President Putin wants is the Russian people and the world to be awed and intimidated by the ongoing memorial to militarism.“I believe the ongoing and unprovoked conflict in Ukraine does nothing but dishonour those same soldiers.”This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permissionOriginally published as Vladimir Putin watches military parade with blanket over his legs as rumours swirl around tyrant’s health