William Burns, CIA Director, shook off rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin was in serious health. He said, during a speech at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, “There are many rumors about Putin’s health and as far we can tell, he is entirely too healthy.” Burns also stated that his observation was not an intelligence assessment, but that the Russian president might have his own view of reality.
The Kremlin released a video in April that raised serious concerns about Putin’s health. It showed him with Sergei Shoigu, his Defense Minister. Putin appeared bloated, and he was seen grabbing a table with his fists while tapping his feet nervously.
There were also other signs.
Rumors that Putin has Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or cancer have been circulating unsubstantiated.
In February, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that “something is wrong” with Putin. Jen Psaki, a former White House press secretary, told ABC News that Putin was “manufacturing terror threats that don’t exist.” Reuters reports that Boris Johnson, the former British Prime Minister, called him “irrational.”
However, Russian officials routinely deny that Putin is ill.
Putin appears to be well enough to travel to Iran to meet fellow international pariahs like President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Khamenei. The Russian president signed a deal to send Iranian drones into Russia while he was there. Burns claims it is a sign that Russia’s military strength is weakening.
“It’s real that the Russians reach out to Iran to try to obtain armed drones,” CIA Director William Burns stated during a three-hour stop in Aspen, Colorado for the annual security forum. The event has attracted senior Biden administration officials as well as US generals and diplomats.
Burns stated that “they need each other” and “they don’t really believe each other in the sense they’re historical rivals and energy rivals.” It’s important to remember that this is a reflection of some of Russia’s current deficiencies and difficulties after suffering significant losses in the war against Ukraine.
Putin, who is just 69, may have gained some weight during the pandemic. His mind is still sharp and his speculations to the contrary are mere gossip.