Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently undergone surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen amid mounting speculation that his health is in decline, claimed an anti-Kremlin Telegram account.
Putin underwent the surgery Thursday night into Friday morning, according to the Telegram channel, “General SVR,” which purports to be run by a former Russian spy.
The channel further claims that Putin’s surgery and subsequent recovery was covered up the following day using “deepfake” technology to simulate his presence in videos of a scheduled meeting of Russia’s security council.
The claims made by “General SVR” have not been verified, and the Ukraine war has been marked by apparent propaganda efforts by both sides.
The channel claimed last week that the Russian president had prerecorded footage in an attempt to cover up future surgeries and was planning on using body doubles if need be.
Though the mysterious channel has been one of the leading sources of supposed information on Putin’s health in recent weeks, other more established outlets have raised questions regarding Putin’s health as well.
In April, Russian investigative outlet The Project reported that Putin has been regularly visited by an oncologist and speculated that the leader was suffering from thyroid cancer.
The report also included a laundry list of other ailments facing the supposed strongman, from hockey injuries to back pain from an equestrian incident.
According to the report, Putin is said to bathe in the blood extracted from deer antlers, which are hacked off while they are growing and still full of fresh blood. The sickening “antler baths” are an alternative therapy in the Altai region of Russia, which borders Khazakstan and Mongolia.
Believers say the baths improve the cardiovascular system and rejuvenate the skin, The Project explained.
Speculation around the leader’s health has continued as he’s been videotaped fidgeting, keeping his distance from his subordinates, or otherwise acting strangely in public.