Putin ‘feels ill’ and grips onto table ‘for security’ in meeting, says expert3 min read
Vladimir Putin has once more been seen tightly gripping the edge of a desk, prompting speculation about the Russian leader’s health, and state of mind.
A video posted on social media showed Putin grabbing the desk in a meeting with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov in Moscow yesterday.
Body language expert Adrianne Carter exclusively told the Daily Star: "It looks to me in this clip that Putin is holding on to the table for security.
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"When we are uncertain or unsure of our steadiness,” she added, “we hold on to something as a means of security.
"Maybe he feels ill and it’s a way of orientating himself and gives him some security.”
Both men seemed unwell during the meeting – with a puffy-faced Kadyrov reportedly recovering from an attempted poisoning in recent weeks.
Kadyrov’s hands were visibly trembling while Putin appeared to be clinging onto the table for dear life.
Aside from the ongoing rumours about Putin’s health – with various commentators suggesting that the former KGB agent is suffering from Parkinson’s disease or cancer or both – there has been considerable talk about an internal power struggle within the Kremlin.
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Military experts say that Putin is deliberately sacrificing Wagner Group troops in the battle for Bakhmut in a bid to weaken Yevgeny Prigozhin’s position.
Bakhmut has no major strategic value, but hundreds of Wagner Group fighters have been deployed in a long and bloody battle to capture the town.
Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War [ISW], a US-based think-tank, says Russia's defence ministry appears to be using the battle to significantly reduce the Wagner Group’s strength, making it less likely that Prigozhin could launch a coup attempt.
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And the ISW said that Russia's leadership "is likely seizing the opportunity to deliberately expend both elite and convict Wagner forces in Bakhmut in an effort to weaken Prigozhin and derail his ambitions for greater influence in the Kremlin."
Prigozhin has complained his troops lack basic supplies, especially ammunition, and that could be a result of "ordinary bureaucracy or a betrayal".
He added: "What if they [the Russian leadership] want to set us up, saying that we are scoundrels – and that's why they are not giving us ammunition, not giving us weapons, and not letting us replenish our personnel, including [recruiting] prisoners?”
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