There was no proof of the supposed televised Sergei Shoigu session broadcast and some cried fake amid rumours the previously missing minister suffered a heart attack after being accused by Putin
Russia has sought to quash rumours Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu suffered a heart attack after being confronted by a livid Vladimir Putin.
Previously prominent Sogui – who had not been seen in public since March 11 – was today shown on TV looking stressed and tired as he supposedly chaired a meeting, with skeptics suggesting the footage was faked.
Russia’s warmongering leader is rumoured to have blamed Shoigu, previously one of his closest and most trusted allies, for the botched invasion of Ukraine and rumours swirled as to his apparant disappearance.
Ukrainian government advisor Anton Gerashchenko on Friday claimed there was speculation that Shoigu had suffered either heart problems or an actual heart attack after a “tough accusation” from Putin.
Wax-faced 66-year-old army general Shoigu was today shown in a broadcast reading from notes in an apparent crisis session to obtain more cash from the Finance Ministry for his disastrous war.
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Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via)
There is also speculation that Shoigu had sought to resign at the start of the war – like other members of Vladimir Putin ’s inner circle – but that his plea was rejected by the strongman.
There was no immediate proof of when the televised Shoigu session broadcast today took place, although it clearly referred to the ‘special military operation’ – Kremlin-speak for the war – underway in Ukraine.
The defence minister told military officials after a session with the finance ministry that it was essential to keep up the pace of weapons deliveries to troops.
He appeared tense and tired.
The previous definite appearance of Shoigu was on March 11, although the Russians say he attended a video conference with Vladimir Putin on March 24.
Sceptics believed this was a fake with Shoigu’s face on the screen but likely not in fact in attendance.
Ukrainian government advisor Anton Gerashchenko on Friday seized on speculation in Moscow that Shoigu had suffered either heart problems or an actual heart attack.
“Shoigu’s heart attack happened after a tough accusation by Putin for a complete failure of the invasion of Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian.
He appears to allude to a version in Moscow that Putin and Shoigu fell out in the first few days of the war in February when it became clear a quick victory was out of the question.
One claim is that security was strengthened around Shoigu – ostensibly to stop Western assassination attempts.
Some in the inner circle perceived this as a “form of arrest”, it was claimed.
Shoigu – who has been mentioned as a plausible Putin successor – complained of a deterioration of his health, but the Russian leader was said to be unsympathetic.
One one occasion, Putin was informed that Shoigu “felt unwell and complained of pain and burning in the region of his heart”.
The Russian president denied medical assistance to his friend and instead branded hum a ”malingerer”, according to General SVR Telegram channel, which claims inside sources.
AFP via Getty Images)
“Only after the president was informed that Shoigu had lost consciousness did Putin allow physicians to be admitted.”
It is also claimed that Shoigu had sought to resign on 10 March but was refused by Putin, who said he would be transferred to other duties after the war.
MoD Crown Copyright via Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Putin is said to be taking military advice on the war from Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, rather than Shoigu whose role at meetings is like that of “an extra”.
There have been rumours that others who sought to resign since the start of the were Head of the Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov, and even Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Nabiullina was persuaded by Putin to work for “several months” and ease the major financial crisis now engulfing sanctions-hit Russia before being allowed to quit and even emigrate.
Shoigu’s daughter Ksenia, 31, a financial analyst, caused surprise by posing with her baby in an image dominated by the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine.
In June last year his elder sister Larisa died from Covid.
In the video issued today, Shoigu said: “Taking into account the conduct of the special military operation, this year it is necessary to maintain the set pace for the supply of advanced weapons to troops.”
This should include “robotic systems, information support and electronic warfare…and logistics”.