Scholz 'completely fallen for Russian trap' says Gustav Gressel
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After months of speculations around Vladimir Putin’s mental health, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tried to silence them by denying that Putin is seriously ill. In an interview with French broadcaster TF1, Lavrov said: “You know, President Putin appears in public every day. You can see him on the screens, read his speeches, and listen to his speeches. I don’t think sane people can discern any sort of symptom of disease in this man.” But speculations have since continued to grow around his mental health. Daniel Gerlach, a member of the private research and advisory group Zenith Council, believes France and Germany are keeping lines of communication open with Vladimir Putin to check on his mental health out of fear he “might go further” in the war in Ukraine.
Speaking to DW News, Mr Gerlach said: “One of the reasons why they’re keeping the line of communication is because they want to feel the temperature of Putin’s mental health.
“It’s now just about trying to assuage him, to talk him into something, to talk him into compromises. I think the German government’s intelligence and security experts are worried about how Putin is going to go.
“And if they cut this rope, this line of communication, they are worried that he might go even further. And they would be taken by surprise. I don’t know if that is a logical assessment of the situation but at least I think it’s totally understandable.
“I’m not defending Scholz’s or Macron’s positions and Putin. I know that Macron for a very long time had the illusion that he could read Putin and all his political advisers were like, you’re delusional, you’re not going to do this and you’re weak in the face of this man.”
Mr Gerlach added: “But nevertheless, I totally understand that as a head of state, you considered your obligation not to abandon the path of diplomacy with the country that owns, possesses, I don’t know, 6,300 nuclear warheads. And if he’s going to use them or not is another question.”
Over the past few months, rumours around Vladimir Putin’s health have ranged from life-threatening cancer to mental strain.
Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, who ran the Russia desk in London as part of his mission, said Putin’s illness is a contributing factor to the war in Ukraine.
“Certainly, from what we’re hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere, is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill”, he told Sky News.
Mr Steele added: “It’s not clear exactly what his illness is – whether it’s incurable or terminal, or whatever. But certainly, I think it’s part of the equation.”
The Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov had already denied rumours of Putin’s mental strain, telling reporters in March that the President’s emotional state was “normal.”
Despite the Kremlin’s claim, an investigation by Russian investigative outlet Proekt found in April that Putin suffers from chronic back pain, which Mr Peskov called “fiction and untruth.”
Later in May, New Lines Magazine leaked a tape of an oligarch close to the Kremlin, in which he said the president is “very ill with blood cancer.”
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During Russia’s victory day commemorations on 9 May, body language experts noticed that Putin’s face was “puffy” and his walk “unsteady.”
To explain the reason for these physical traits, Defence and security analyst, professor Michael Clarke, said: “I suspect that he’s only a hypochondriac”, who is “is known to hit the Botox quite heavily.”
“I always say that he’s trying to embalm himself while he’s still alive – he does take a lot of Botox”, he added.
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