CONSPIRACY theories claim Vladimir Putin has contracted coronavirus and that state television is airing old footage of him to hide his disappearance.
The claims come days after the Russian president was seen shaking hands with a top doctor who later tested positive for the virus.
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The 67-year-old is thought to have last been seen in public last week during a broadcast to Russians on the ongoing pandemic.
Footage broadcast on state television in recent days showed Putin at a sit-down meeting with officials, but the meeting is known to have taken place on March 24.
A clip of him meeting Igor Shuvalov, the chair of one of Russia largest investment companies, was also shown yesterday, but the pair are not seen discussing coronavirus, and it is thought the footage could also be old.
Eight days ago, Putin met with leading medic Denis Protsenko, head of Moscow's main coronavirus hospital.
The two were pictured shaking hands before touring the hospital while not wearing any protective gear.
Protsenko today tested positive for the coronavirus and is now undergoing treatment at his own hospital.
Writing on Facebook, Ilya Shepelin, a journalist with independent news channel TV Rain, asked "Where is Putin?", adding that he has been seen "nowhere" in public and speculating he may be in "self-isolation".
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He added that the meeting with Shuvalov included “not a word about the coronavirus, nor the crisis that the epidemic caused”.
Author Ivan Davydov added that the president had "disappeared".
“Putin, perhaps for the first time in 20 years of rule, is at risk,” he said.
Putin has been either president or prime minister since 1999, and recently secured constitutional changes that could allow him to rule indefinitely.
The Kremlin has said “everything is okay” with the his health and that he is being regularly tested for coronavirus.
Putin is today due to hold a meeting with government officials, with an annual “sowing campaign” for corn and buckwheat as the main item on the agenda.
Russia so far has only 2,777 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 24 reported deaths, though there are concerns of a cover-up and that the true figures are much higher.
The coronavirus has infected over 870,000 people globally and killed more 43,000 since a break out began in December.
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