Vladimir Putin has coughing fit during televised Covid-19 conference, forcing Kremlin to deny he has health problems - while editing the footage
The Kremlin was forced to deny that Vladimir Putin had health problems on Wednesday after he suffered a coughing fit during a televised meeting.
The Russian president, 68, struggled to finish his sentence while speaking to top officials about 'acute financial problems' caused by Covid-19.
The video was later edited so that Putin's coughing fit seemed less severe in a version posted by his office.
State news agency TASS asked the Kremlin about Putin's health and was told he was 'absolutely normal'.'The president apologised and continued the meeting almost without pausing,' the agency said.
Putinwas speaking by video call to his finance minister Anton Siluanov and other senior officials when the coughing fit started.
He uttered 'Excuse me' and repeatedly raised his right hand to his mouth as he struggled to go on.
The footage of the president's remarks later posted on the Kremlin website edited the worst of his coughing, including when he said 'excuse me'.
Radio Mayak, which had broadcast an original stream, reported: 'Putin's vocal cords gave in as he was setting his government to fight Covid-19.'
Unlike world leaders such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, Putin is believed so far to have avoided contracting Covid-19.
与鲍里斯·约翰逊(Boris Johnson)和唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)等世界领导人不同，普京被认为到目前为止一直避免接触新冠肺炎。
Despite Russia having two vaccines available - one tested by his daughter Katerina, 34 - he has not been injected, it is understood.
He has remained largely isolated in recent months after a scare in April when he came into contact with infected doctors at a Moscow clinic.
Putin's current term expires in 2024 but a constitutional amendment passed earlier this year makes him eligible for two more terms, meaning he could rule until 2036.
The former KGB officer took power when Boris Yeltsin resigned on the last day of the 20th century, and Putin has been either president or prime minister ever since.
The health scare came on Wednesday as Russia announced a record daily death toll of 456 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 34,387.
Total infections, which are the fifth-highest in the world, rose to the brink of two million after 20,985 new cases were reported in 24 hours.
Putin told the one-and-a-half hour meeting that the situation with coronavirus remains 'critical' in many regions and called on the finance ministry to provide help.
Earlier he sounded the alarm over rising fatalities, saying: 'The number of new cases is rising… and what's most alarming - the death rate is increasing'.
There have also been concerns that Russia has downplayed the true toll, and that the death figures are significantly higher.