CIA chief: no evidence Putin is unwell

Russian leader has ‘combustible mix of grievance and ambition and insecurity’, Bill Burns says

There is no intelligence that Russian president Vladimir Putin is unstable or in bad health, the director of the CIA has said.

Bill Burns was asked at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday about periodic media reports suggesting the Russian leader is unwell.

Mr Burns, who speaks Russian, said: “There are lots of rumours about President Putin’s health and, as far as we can tell, he is apparently too healthy”.

Mr Burns served as ambassador early in Mr Putin’s tenure and was quietly sent to Moscow last year in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade him from invading Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reports.


The CIA director, noting that he has dealt with Mr Putin over two decades, described the Russian leader as having “a very combustible mix of grievance and ambition and insecurity.”

“He is not a big believer in the better angels of the human spirit,” Mr Burns said. “He is convinced that his destiny as Russia’s leader is to restore Russia as a great power.” — Guardian