Vladimir Putin clutched his chair with a claw-like grip while his feet constantly twitched as he delivered a bizarre speech to teenagers.
The Russian leader – who has ignored rumours about his health for months – appeared flushed as he spoke on stage after flying more than eight hours from Moscow to Kamchatka.
Putin – too busy to attend the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev at the weekend – appeared to bemuse his audience of young ecologists as he gave a rambling speech, The Sun reports.
He told them: “You have to live for something to die for.”
Since ordering his troops into Ukraine in February, an estimated 75,000 of his people have died or been maimed as the war rages on – though numbers have not officially been confirmed.
Putin, 69, told the audience in the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky: “There is an expression, and whoever told me about it, I promised I would reproduce it out loud in public sometime.
“You have to live for something to die for.
“As strange as it may seem in your humanitarian field, this is something worth living for.”
He also boasted to the crowd in Kamchatka – a glaciers-and-volcanoes peninsula in the Pacific – that his vast empire is the real “Land of the Rising Sun”.
Slouching puffy-faced in his chair with a smirk breaking out, he said croakily: “Our neighbour Japan is called the Country of the Rising Sun.
“But further east from Japan is Kamchatka, or Sakhalin [Russia’s largest island].
“Even further east is New Zealand. And further east from New Zealand is Chukotka, a Russian province almost touching Alaska.
“And then there is only a 60-kilometre-wide strait to America.
“In this sense the Country of the Rising Sun is Russia.”
It comes just days after Putin’s similarly erratic behaviour while addressing a different audience also raised eyebrows.
A giggling Putin cracked an odd joke about having a “rubber bum” and seemed unable to stop his legs from twitching in a surreal appearance with Russian schoolchildren.
The pupils – who had been ordered to quarantine for 14 days beforehand by paranoid Vladimir Putin – appeared baffled by the Russian president’s speech as he addressed them in the exclave territory of Kaliningrad.
Putin today jetted out for a rare eastern trip to take charge of Russia’s latest war games in the Pacific as his forces retreat in southern Ukraine.
The Kremlin ruler flew out in a bid to deny he is neglecting the far eastern part of his sprawling empire.
The week-long Vostok-2022 drills thousands of miles from the conflict in Europe involve the deployment of 5,000 military vehicles, 140 aircraft, 60 warships and some 50,000 service personnel.
Footage from the exercises has been released, seemingly intended to show Russia’s firepower – despite the evident failings of its forces in the stalemate Ukrainian conflict.
This story was published by The Sun and reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s feet seen twitching uncontrollably during speech
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