Putin to hand over power, undergo surgery: Report

As Vladimir Putin continues his effort to “demilitarize” Ukraine, there has been plenty of speculation that the Russian leader’s health is in decline.

According to a report, Putin will temporarily transfer power to undergo cancer surgery, the New York Post reports.

Putin to hand over power

The extraordinary claim surfaced in a video on a Russian Telegram channel run by the pseudonymous “Viktor Mikhailovich.” The report said that Putin will hand over power to Nikolai Patrushev, who leads the Security Council.

“Putin is unlikely to agree to hand over power for a longer period of time” than a few days, the report said.

A Russian investigative outlet recently claimed that Putin has seen an oncologist dozens of times over the past few years. Putin was recently seen gripping a table for support during an official meeting, which raised more questions about the 69-year-old’s condition.

But Olga Lautmann, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, told Newsweek that because Putin’s Russia is so tightly controlled, any public signs of illness in the Russian leader are probably a head fake. One possibility is that Putin is trying to sniff out plotters, she said.

“I think that Putin coming out and exhibiting symptoms of sickness was more theatrics and distraction,” she said. “If Putin was really ill, he wouldn’t want people surrounding him to know.”

Russia vulnerable

The Pentagon was reluctant to say the report of Putin’s surgery is true, with press secretary John Kirby saying he has “seen nothing that could help us corroborate that.”

The rumors of Putin’s declining health come at a moment of great vulnerability for Russia, which faces the prospect of getting bogged down in a costly and drawn-out war. That seems to be the Biden administration’s goal as it continues to pump billions of dollars into the stalemated conflict.

But Putin’s approval rating has surged since the war, which Putin calls a “special military operation,” began. President Biden has hinted that his administration’s ultimate aim is to depose the Russian dictator, who has ruled with an iron fist for 20 years.

Biden’s seeming inability to calibrate his remarks has led to concern that the enfeebled president is steering the U.S. into a potentially devastating conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

Biden has faced plenty of health speculation of his own. He is widely perceived as senile by the American population, despite the refusal of effectively state-run liberal media to acknowledge his cognitive decline. Last year, Biden handed over power for a few hours to Kamala Harris during a colonoscopy.

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