Russian President Vladimir Putin suffered “coughing fits” and “chest pains” before recording his televised address where he announced the biggest escalation of the Ukraine war since Moscow’s February 24 invasion. Doctors were called to help the Russian President after the episode due to which his address was delayed by 13 hours, according to a report in Mirror. In his address, Mr Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he was not bluffing when he said he’d be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
But chaos ensued before Mr Putin was finally able to record his address. The report about the delay is based on updates on Telegram channel General SVR.
“When the President came out and preparations for filming began, he began to cough frequently. Several attempts to start recording an appeal were frustrated due to coughing,” a post in the channel read, according to Mirror.
“After the fourth unsuccessful attempt to record an appeal, doctors were called to the President, to whom Putin also complained of chest pains.”
Mr Putin was originally scheduled to record the address on Tuesday, but it was delayed without any explanation. The 69-year-old finally spoke on Wednesday during which he claimed that the West has been engaged in nuclear blackmail against Russia.
“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed every line,” he said. “This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”
The address, which followed a critical Russian battlefield defeat in northeastern Ukraine, fuelled speculation about the course of the war, the 69-year-old Kremlin chief’s own future, and showed Putin was doubling down on what he calls his “special military operation” in Ukraine.