Putin minister appears on TV dispels rumours he suffered a heart attack

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Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu was shown on TV chairing a meeting as the Kremlin sought to dispel swirling rumours that he had suffered a heart attack.

The wax-faced 66-year-old army general was reading from notes in an apparent crisis session to obtain more cash for his disastrous war from the Finance Ministry.

There was no immediate proof of when the televised session broadcast today (Saturday, March 26) took place, although it clearly referred to the ‘special military operation’ – Kremlin-speak for the war – underway in Ukraine.

The defence minister told military officials after a session with the finance ministry that it was essential to keep up the pace of weapons deliveries to troops.

Shoigu appeared tense and tired in the video as he said: “Taking into account the conduct of the special military operation, this year it is necessary to maintain the set pace for the supply of advanced weapons to troops.”

This should include “robotic systems, information support and electronic warfare…and logistics”.

The previous definite appearance of Shoigu was on March 11, although the Russians say he attended a video conference with Vladimir Putin on Thursday (March 24).

Sceptics believed this was a fake with Shoigu’s face on the screen but likely not in fact in attendance.

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Ukrainian government advisor Anton Gerashchenko yesterday (Friday, March 25) seized on speculation in Moscow that Shoigu had suffered either heart problems or an actual heart attack.

“Shoigu's heart attack happened after a tough accusation by Putin for a complete failure of the invasion of Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian.

He appears to allude to a version in Moscow that Putin and Shoigu fell out in the first few days of the war in February when it became clear a quick victory was out of the question.

One claim is that security was strengthened around Shoigu – ostensibly to stop Western assassination attempts.

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Some in the inner circle perceived this as a “form of arrest”, it was claimed.

Shoigu – who has been mentioned as a plausible Putin successor – complained of a deterioration of his health, but the Russian leader was said to be unsympathetic.

On one occasion, Putin was informed that Shoigu “felt unwell and complained of pain and burning in the region of his heart”.

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The Russian president denied medical assistance to his friend and instead branded him a ”malingerer”, according to the General SVR Telegram channel, which claims inside sources.

“Only after the president was informed that Shoigu had lost consciousness did Putin allow physicians to be admitted.”

It is also claimed that Shoigu had sought to resign on March 10 but was refused by Putin, who said he would be transferred to other duties after the war.

  • Vladimir Putin
  • Military
  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war
  • Ukraine

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