Amid speculation around his health, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently underwent a surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen, Express reported on Wednesday. The operation “went well and without complications”, the report further said, attributing the information to Telegram channel General SVR linked to Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.
The surgery "one the night of May 12 to May 13" was not linked to cancer, the report added.
Mr Putin missed a scheduled meeting with government officials due to the surgery. Instead, a pre-recorded video message of the President was played at the meeting, the Express report said.
The media outlet also published a translated sentence from the Telegram message in which the officials informed, “PLEASE NOTE that this surgical procedure is not a surgical operation that is recommended to the President and which is yet to take place.”
The New York Post reported that Mr Putin's surgery and subsequent recovery was covered up the following day using "deepfake" technology.
However, NDTV cannot verify these claims.
Speculation around Mr Putin's ill health has been doing the rounds for the past few weeks as the war in Ukraine rages, with former British spy claiming it is an "element" of what is happening in Ukraine.
Further, an oligarch with close ties to the Russian leader has reportedly been recorded as saying "Putin is very ill with blood cancer".
In a recording obtained by a US magazine New Lines, the unnamed oligarch was heard discussing Mr Putin's health with a Western venture capitalist.
The news around the Russian President's health gained prominence after the leader appeared frail at public events including the Victory Day celebrations earlier this month. In the photos and videos which went viral on social media, Mr Putin was seen with a thick green cover draped over his legs as he sat among Second World War veterans and senior dignitaries to watch a military parade in Moscow's Red Square.