A new viral video is adding fuel to conspiracy theories that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is using multiple body doubles for risky public outings — including on the ground in war-torn Ukraine.
Putin’s surprise appearance in Ukraine was his first appearance in the Russian-occupied territory since Moscow launched an invasion of the country last year.
The clip, which has been making the rounds in recent days, further enflames speculation that Putin is playing it safe by using as many as three different body doubles to dodge any potential danger, according to DailyMail.
It is unclear who made the footage but it appears to be aimed at reaching Russians who rely on uber-loyalist state media for their news.
Putin is widely believed to have had regular plastic surgery as he has aged since first becoming acting president on the last day of 1999, Daily Mail reported.
‘Who is ruling Russia?’ the video asks.
‘A specialist long ago noticed the differences between the Russian president’s body doubles,’ the video says in Russian.
‘A ledge on Putin’s earlobe constantly changes. As does a small mole on his face.
‘One of the Putins has straight wrinkles on his face, the other has small and interrupted [wrinkles],’ the video claims.
‘This is impossible even if he had botox injections.’
Earlier Ukraine mocked Putin for allegedly ‘sending a lookalike to war-ravaged Mariupol’ in a high security visit, DailyMail reported.
Kyiv official Anton Gerashchenko posted three images of Putin’s chin and questioned whether they belonged to the same man.
He taunted: ‘What’s up with your chin, Putin?’
Putin is widely believed to have had regular plastic surgery as he has aged since first becoming acting president on the last day of 1999.
Gerashechenko, an advisor to the internal affairs minister in Ukraine, highlighted differences in the neck and chin area in men identified as Putin.
The Interior Minister advisor posted: ‘Looks like lately his makeup artists (i.e. for the recent trips of the bunker man to the occupied Crimea and Mariupol) had to work with quite a low-quality copy, not even a double but its copy.’
Images of the Russian leader taken in Moscow on Feb. 21 seem to show him with a thinner neck compared to the jowls of the men pictured in Ukraine Saturday and Sunday.
‘Evidently the weakest double was sent to Mariupol,’ the video posted by the DailyMail claims. ‘They forgot to put in his jaw.’
Rumors that he uses look-alikes have circulated for years but have never been proven.