Putin using body double as ears have changed, says Ukraine intelligence boss

Ukraine's military intelligence chief has made fresh claims that Vladimir Putin's is using a body double as he suggested the dictator's height and ears have changed.

Rumours surrounding the possibility Putin is using a body double have been swirling for months amid continued reports the despot is suffering from ill health.

Newly-appointed Major General Kyrylo Budanov made the comments while speaking to Ukrainian TV channel Groshi.

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He also said he believes the Russian President is seriously ill, hence why a double is used to avoid public panic in the country, according to Ukrainian news outlet TSN.

There have been rumours that Putin, 69, is suffering from cancer, Parkinson's disease or even both.

Budanov said: "The picture, let's say, of the ears, is different. And it's like a fingerprint, each person's ear picture is unique. It cannot be repeated."

He went on to allege that some of the supposed body doubles “have different habits, different mannerisms, different gaits, sometimes even different heights if you looked closely”.

Previously, the intelligence chief claimed Putin may have used a double for his arrival at a summit in Tehran last month.

Budanov told the 1+1 news channel: “I will only hint. Please look at the moment of Putin's exit from the plane. Is it Putin at all?”

It is one of the only international visits Putin can currently make due to his ongoing invasion of Ukraine as he is now an international pariah, and it marked only his second trip in five months.

There he met Iran’s leadership and controversial Turkish president Recep Erdogan.

This comes as Putin's invasion of Ukraine continues to rumble on, with fighting focused in the east of the country.

In recent days, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he wanted to talk directly to China’s leader Xi Jinping in the hope he can use his influence over Russia to bring the war to an end.

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So far all diplomatic routes have proven unsuccessful and China has refused to condemn the invasion.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Zelenskyy said: "It’s a very powerful state. It’s a powerful economy. So [it] can politically, economically influence Russia. And China is [also a] permanent member of the UN security council."

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