Putin abruptly delays live TV Q&A amid suspicion he faces hidden health problems
Russian President Vladimir Putin has delayed an annual live TV Q&A with members of the public amid rumours he faces hidden health problems.
The Direct Line to Vladimir Putin event typically runs for three-to-four hours and has aired in June for four of the past five years, with the exception being during the Covid pandemic.
It is thought that his rumoured health issues – which include supposed cancer and Parkinson's disease – may mean he is unable to remain on TV for that amount of time.
Another theory suggests that the postponement may be due to fears that he'll be interrogated over his floundering invasion of Ukraine.
Five days ago it was announced that the event would take place in the "foreseeable future", possibly after the conclusion of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 18.
However, those plans have been shelved after Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it will occur on an "unknown" date and not this month.
Peskov said today: “The Direct Line cannot take place this month.
“From a technical and substantive point of view, this is a complex and voluminous event.
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“Routine preparations are underway.
“But it will enter its final stage as soon as the deadlines are set.”
No reason was given for the delay.
The Q&A, which usually sees the Russian President answer around 70 questions submitted by ordinary Russians, has taken place every year since 2001 bar 2004 and 2012.
The Kremlin has uncharacteristically said in the past that Russians can ask their leader about anything during the live event.
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Although they could edit out questions regarding Ukraine. There are reportedly concerns that this would leave him open to ridicule – as would appearing to be under the weather on national TV.
There have been claims that Putin is battling either blood, thyroid or abdominal cancer as well as Parkinson's, with some Western sources saying that he has undergone surgery since the "special military operation" in Ukraine began.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has insisted that Putin is not ill, despite claims that some recent televised appearances were choreographed to disguise it.
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