As Russia becomes increasingly isolated from the Western world, Vladimir Putin is increasingly anxious to find support elsewhere in the world.
Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday (September 16) to discuss a trade deal. But he also appeared to need another kind of support.
As the Russian leader shuffled across the lobby of the SCO summit building in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, he appeared to be depending on Erdogan just to stay upright.
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After the video of the incident was posted online, many social media users speculated that Putin’s health was failing.
One Twitter user wrote: “It looks like Putin is dragging his left, side look closely at his left arm and leg,” while another guessed: “it looks like support for hiding a shaking hand issue”.
Many others said that Putin looked “weak” and "frail". “
"Maybe consequences of a stroke?” wrote one. “Partial paralysis? I am no doctor, but for sure something seems weird in the way he moves”.
One, less diplomatic Twitter user, wrote: “Was he drunk? Did he s**t himself? Was he stoned? So many questions…”
Putin has been making use of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit to try to bolster support for Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
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Putin has insisted that despite its rift with the West, Russia is not isolated because it can look eastwards to major eastern powers such as China and India.
But he had to accept that the attack on Ukraine is costing Russia friends around the world. “"I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, the concerns that you constantly express," he told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"We will do everything to stop this as soon as possible."
Putin’s comments to Modi came a day after his first face-to-face meeting with Xi since the start of the Ukraine war, where he also publicly acknowledged Beijing’s “questions and concerns”.
There has been huge speculation about Putin’s health since the beginning of year, with observers noting how he tends to grip onto conference tables as if trying to disguise a tremor in his hand.
It’s led some people to believe that the Russian leader is suffering from Parkinson’s, while others have claimed that he is undergoing treatment for cancer.
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