The Kremlin on Tuesday denied a report that President Vladimir Putin was ill, and laughed off persistent rumours that he used body doubles to cover for him in public appearances.
"Everything is fine with him, this is absolutely another fake," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about an unsourced report by a Russian Telegram channel, picked up by some Western media, that the president had suffered a serious health episode on Sunday evening.
The spokesman laughed in response to a further question about body doubles, and denied that Putin had any.
"This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity. This evokes nothing but a smile," Peskov said.
Putin, a judo enthusiast who has long cultivated an "action man" image, turned 71 on Oct. 7. He maintains an intensive schedule of meetings and public appearances, many of them televised.
His recent programme included a visit to China last week, with stop-offs in two Russian cities on the way back.
In a 2020 interview, Putin denied longstanding rumours that he uses body doubles, although he said he had been offered the chance to use one in the past for security reasons.