A Vladimir Putin "body double" may have been flown to Tehran for a summit earlier this week, while the real man, who is reportedly unwell didn't move out of Russia, according to Ukrainian military intelligence. According to a Daily Mailreport, Ukrainian military intelligence the Russian President's movements were quite unusual and the person may not be real Putin.
Ukraine's Intelligence supremo Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, gave a strange live interview on Ukraine's 1+1 news station claiming that a body double may have been flown to Tehran to meet the country's leadership. He said that Putin look animated after coming down from the plane and also moved quite quickly.
Spot The Difference
A video clip that is doing the rounds on social media shows the Russian president appearing quite awkward as he descended from his presidential aircraft in Tehran. However, Ukrainian sources noticed that he moved more rapidly and was more alert than in previous public appearances.
The Russian president looked animated while greeting the waiting group, before taking off his jacket and getting into a heavily armored vehicle.
Budanov made the wild claims during a live interview on Ukraine's 1+1 news station. According to Ukrainian reports, Budanov suggested that a Putin body double might have traveled to Tehran to speak with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, according to the Daily Mail report.
"I will only hint," he said.
"Please look at the moment of Putin's exit from the plane. Is it Putin at all?" he added.
Two years ago, Putin acknowledged that twins had been discussed by officials, but he insisted the concept had been rejected. "I discarded the idea of any doubles," he said.
The visit of the Russian leader to Tehran, where he visited the Iranian leadership as well as the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, received global media attention.
Putin has traveled abroad only twice since his invasion of Ukraine five months ago.
In one of the videos, Erdogan kept Putin waiting while the Russian president was seen shaking his feet and making odd facial gestures, giving the impression that he was uncomfortable.
However, Ukraine didn't say anything at that time. At the time, official Anton Gerashchenko posted on Telegram: 'Erdogan made Putin wait during the meeting in Tehran."
"The whole spectrum of emotions of the humiliated and insulted Führer is on his face. The bunker is indeed the best place to stay with such a face."
It is not known if Putin really was in Tehran or if a lookalike was used but the claim stems from a similar idea of using body doubles for the security of the Russian strongman. During the terrorist strikes that hit Russia in the early 2000s, Putin was told that gatherings, where the head of state might be in danger, should be attended by a lookalike.
Putin had at that time said, "This was during the most trying period of our fight against terrorism."
Former Kremlin officials, including longtime Soviet leaders Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev, are also said to have used body doubles. A Russian Putin expert has vehemently refuted a CIA assertion that the head of the Kremlin is "too healthy" and devoid of any signs of numerous medical issues.
Earlier this week, CIA director William Burns disputed political scientist Valery Solovey's assertion that there was no intelligence indicating Putin was critically ill. Solovey, who has long believed the Russian ruler is ill, said, "The Americans, the CIA particularly, have information on the real state of health of the Russian president."
"They definitely know that he has serious troubles, including mental ones."
The "too healthy" remark, according to Solovey, a former professor at Moscow's esteemed Institute of International Relations, may have been uttered because the US is secretly negotiating with Russia.