The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is “too healthy.” That’s the view of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, who has denied rumors over a possible illness that the Russian president may be suffering from.
“From what I can tell, he’s too healthy,” Burns told a news conference at the Aspen Security Forum. A statement that came days after Putin’s visit to Iran to meet with his counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, and with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Burns’s version contrasts with that of numerous experts who have questioned the Kremlin leader’s state of health, such as that of former British spy Richard Dearlove, particularly since Russia, at the behest of Putin, invaded Ukraine in February, since waging a bloody and vicious war.
The general and head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, went so far as to assure that Putin was “very ill” with “very poor psychological and physical health”, to the point that he spoke about the possibility of a change in the presidency of Russia. “That process has already started, they are moving in that direction,” Budanov said in May.
Aleksei Arestovich, one of Ukraine president Volodímir Zelenskyy’s advisers, even claimed that the Russian president was suffering from bone cancer. “I have known for sure since 2020 that he really has cancer, something like a sarcoma. He still has a number of serious problems with his spine and other organs,” he said in June.
The rumors have been denied by Moscow. Specifically by the Kremlin’s press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, who described as ‘fake news’ the rumors about a possible illness contracted by Putin, after the Russian president was seen coughing in public upon returning after his trip to Iran. According to the version of the Russian Government, the president’s cough was due to the air conditioning.
During his appearance, Burns also spoke about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. According to the CIA chief, China is leaning towards the use of force against Taiwan, analysing how and when to invade it. “It seems to us that (the war in Ukraine) doesn’t really affect the issue of whether Chinese leaders might choose to use force against Taiwan in the next few years, but when and how they will do it.”
It’s a risk that some analysts believe is ever more possible, after an important meeting of the ruling communist party. “These risks are increasing, it seems to us, the further you go in this decade,” he said. The CIA described China’s position as “uneasy” with respect to the conflict in Ukraine.
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