Thursday, 11 Aug 2022

Putin used ‘body double’ during meeting with Turkey president, Ukraine claims

A Ukrainian intelligence chief thinks Vladimir Putin may have used a body 'double' for his arrival at a summit in Iran this week.

Intelligence supremo Major-General Kyrylo Budanov was suspicious in a live interview on 1+1 channel, saying a Putin lookalike could have flown to Tehran to meet with the presidents of Iran and Turkey.

Budanov said: "I will only hint. Please look at the moment of Putin's exit from the plane. Is it Putin at all?"

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The Russian leader looked awkward as he came down the steps of his presidential plane in Tehran.

Ukrainian sources noted he moved unusually quickly and was more alert than in prior public appearances.

The Russian premier looked animated when greeting the waiting party, before removing his jacket and clambering into a heavily armoured limousine.

The Russian leader's visit to Tehran where he met Iran's leadership, plus Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attracted worldwide attention.

It is only the second time Putin has been abroad since launching his brutal invasion of Ukraine five months ago.

In one video, Erdoğan kept Putin waiting, with the Russian ruler appearing ill at ease as he shuffled his feet and made strange facial movements.

But earlier Ukraine did not suggest this was a Putin double.

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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."

Ukrainian news agency UNIAN commented: "The dwarf doesn't like to be disrespected."

Putin two years ago admitted that officials had considered using doubles, but he claimed the idea was rejected.

"I discarded the idea of any doubles," he said.

He was advised in the early 2000s when Russia was hit by terrorist attacks that a lookalike should take his place at events where the head of state might be at risk, he said.

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