Putin looks unsteady in Easter church service footage

Putin looks unsteady in Easter church service footage showing him biting lip and fidgets as health rumours grow around Russian leader

  • Watch the moment a nervous Putin bites his lip while attending an Easter mass
  • The Russian leader looked unsteady as rumours circles about his ailing health 
  • Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill, a supporter of Putin, led the service

Putin looked frail and unsteady at a midnight mass for Orthodox Easter, stoking rumours surrounding the Russian president’s ailing health.

While comments have appeared around Putin looking more bloated then in previous photos, he appeared more gaunt in recent footage, standing in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral alongside the city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin. 

A nervous-looking Putin bit his lip while attending the church service, fidgeting and appearing distracted while watching the church service.

He appeared to chew the insides of his mouth, shifting uncomfortably, adding to a swirl of commentary that the pressure of Russian setbacks over the war in Ukraine.

The Russian president has seen rumours circling around his physical and mental fitness after footage emerged of him gripping the table in front of him during a meeting with one of his senior staff.

Putin, 69, was seen gripping the table and tapping his foot frantically, prompting the rumours of his mental deterioration.

The mass was led by Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill, who has supported his invasion of Ukraine. 

Vladimir Putin attends the Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The Russian president appeared unsteady and distracted during the ceremony

 He appeared to chew the insides of his mouth, shifting uncomfortably, adding to a swirl of commentary that the pressure of Russian setbacks over the war in Ukraine

Putin gives himself the sign of the cross, but seemingly does so with deliberate slowness.

Vladimir Putin’s five medically-related disappearances  

November 2012: Business trips and long-distance flights of the president are canceled, some of Putin’s meetings shown by the Kremlin turn out to be ‘canned food’

March 5 – 15, 2015: Putin does not appear in public, all meetings are ‘canned’ – in other words pre-recorded events were shown with the pretence they were in real time

August 9-16, 2017: The President, with journalists, visits Abkhazia and Sochi, and then for a week the Kremlin publishes only ‘canned food’

February 2018: In the midst of an election campaign, the president cancels public events. Peskov admits that the head of state ‘had a cold’

September 13-29, 2021: Putin goes into ‘self-isolation’, all events are held via video link

Observers said Putin’s actions are consistent with someone suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which causes tremors, slow movement and stiffness.

Reuters reported Putin did not join in with the congregational response, declining to respond ‘he has truly risen’, along with the rest of the 

The Eastern Orthodox churches observe the ancient Julian calendar, and so Russia is celebrating Orthodox Easter on April 24, later than the Roman Catholic calendar date for Easter.

Putin was recently shown on Russian TV giving orders for troops in Ukraine to blockade the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where more than 1,000 Ukrainians are held up inside, resisting the Kremlin’s control over the city.

‘An able-bodied president would not need to keep himself propped up with a hand held out for leverage and would not be concerned about keeping both feet planted on the ground,’ professor Erik Bucy, a body language expert from Texas Tech University, told the Sun.  

The Russian leader’s poor posture and his apparently bloated face and neck sparked speculation about the Russian leader’s health, which has reportedly been in decline since the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s legs also appeared quite thin, suggesting he may be suffering from weight or muscle loss, said professor Bucy.

Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill, who has supported his invasion of Ukraine, led the service. Eastern Orthodox churches observe the ancient Julian calendar, and this year celebrate the Orthodox Easter on April 24

Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulate each other after the Easter service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses Ukrainian people with Orthodox Easter message, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, at the Saint Sophia cathedral in Kyiv

Meanwhile Shoigu, who is in charge of the bloody invasion of Ukraine, has been noticeably absent from public view amid reports the defence minister and Putin’s relationship has become strained after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has led to more than 20,000 Russian troops being killed.

Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist and former adviser to Ukraine and Russia, said the video showed both Putin and Shoigu ‘depressed and seemingly in bad health’.

Shoigu does not appear to have fared any better in the eight weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, with the defence minister slurring his words and reading from his notes following an apparent heart attack. 

Last week, a Russian-Israeli businessman claimed Shoigu suffered a heart attack, which he suspects was caused by foul play.

Leonid Nevzlin claimed Shoigu had been in intensive car after suffering ‘a massive heart attack’ which ‘could not have occurred due to natural causes’, suggesting Putin’s longtime ally may have been the subject of an assassination attempt. 

But Putin’s poor posture and his apparently bloated face and neck sparked speculation about the Russian leader’s health, which has reportedly been in decline since his invasion of Ukraine

A bloated Vladimir Putin has been seen gripping a table whilst slouching in his chair during a televised meeting with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu amid rumours the Russian strongman is battling cancer. Shoigu does not appear to have fared any better in the eight weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, with the defence minister slurring his words and reading from his notes following an apparent heart attack

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