Vladimir Putin ‘in good health’, insists Kremlin

Spokesman says Russian president’s handshake is strong enough to ‘break hands’

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that president Vladimir Putin is in good health, but could not say when he would next appear in public.

“He has meetings all the time,” Mr Peskov told Reuters over the phone. “He has meetings today, tomorrow. I don’t know how which ones we will make public.”

When asked if Putin is healthy, Mr Peskov said, “Yes.”

Mr Peskov made his comments as rumours circulated surrounding Mr Putin’s health following the cancellation of two official events in as many days.


Mr Peskov also said that Mr Putin would not be appearing at a meeting with the Federal Security Service today, which he often attends.

“Yes, he’s usually there,” Mr Peskov said. “But this year he was not planning to be.”

In a radio interview with Ekho Moskvy, Mr Peskov said there was "no need to worry" adding that his handshake is strong enough to "break hands".

Mr Putin (62) who hasn't made a public appearance since talks with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on March 5th, cancelled several public meetings at home this week and delayed a planned summit in Kazakhstan, according to two officials.

The president maintains constant contact with the government, banks and state companies because of the "very tense" situation with the Russian economy, Mr Peskov told Ekho Moskvy.

The Russian leader's disappearance is sparking the biggest health scare since late 2012, when he scrapped or postponed five foreign trips during more than a month as officials including prime minister Dmitry Medvedev repeatedly denied that he was ill or undergoing treatment for back pain.

Mr Putin, a black-belt in judo celebrated at home for his physical prowess, has cultivated an image of toughness with photo shoots of him riding bare- chested on a horse, fishing, and posing with wild animals including a tiger and polar bear.

Mr Peskov told reporters to "bite your tongue" in October last year as he denied a New York Post report that the president may have cancer, according to RIA Novosti.

The Kremlin’s press service yesterday issued a photo of a meeting between Mr Putin and the regional governor of Karelia.

However, local news agencies had reported on the meeting as early as March 5th, and Russian news agency RBC cited an anonymous source in the Karelian governor’s office as saying the meeting had actually taken place on March 4th.