A spokesman for Vladimir Putin denied a British tabloid report that the Russian president is about to resign due to ill health. The Sun claimed Putin is showing signs of Parkinson’s disease.
The Kremlin on Friday dismissed a report by a British newspaper that President Vladimir Putin will resign due to ill health as “complete nonsense.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the story by tabloid The Sun was untrue. It claimed that Putin would stand down next year after showing possible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“This is complete nonsense. Everything is fine with the president,” Peskov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS. “He is in excellent health.”
The Sun quoted observers who had studied recent footage where Putin’s leg appeared to be in constant motion while he seemed to be in pain clutching the armrest of a chair.
His fingers seemed to be twitch as he held a cup believed to contain painkillers, the newspaper said.
Lifetime immunity proposed
The report came after the lower house of Russia’s legislature proposed a draft law that could provide Russian ex-presidents immunity from criminal prosecution in their lifetimes, not merely while in office.
The bill, published on a government website, is one of several being introduced following constitutional reforms that, among other things, allow Putin to run again when his term ends in 2024.
“The president of the Russian Federation retains immunity upon terminating his authority,” the text said.”He cannot be held criminally or administratively liable and cannot be detained, arrested or subjected to a search or an interrogation.”
The new bill would also make it harder to revoke ex-presidents’ expanded immunity.
It would require the upper house of parliament to vote overwhelmingly to revoke it on the strength of accusations by the lower house that the president had committed treason or another serious crime.
The bill will become law if the lower house votes to approve it in three readings, the upper house backs it, and Putin then signs it.
Putin was first elected as Russia’s president in 2000. He has served longer than any Russian or Soviet politician since the early 1950s.
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