Russian President Vladimir Putin is using body doubles who have undergone plastic surgery, Ukrainian General Kyrylo Budanov has claimed.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail on Saturday, Oct. 29, Budanov said that the Ukrainian government is so confused by Russia’s constant military blunders in their ongoing invasion that many were left wondering if Putin was still making the key decisions.
“No matter how bad Putin is, he was not an idiot,” the General, who is also the chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said, adding that Russia’s war plan “does not follow any logic.”
“The big question is whether the real Putin still exists,” he said, claiming that Ukrainian intelligence had detected doubles being used to stand in for Putin on “special occasions.”
It is “usual practice now,” the General said. “We know specifically about three people who keep appearing, but how many there are, we don’t know. They all had plastic surgery to look alike. The one thing that gives them away is their height. It’s visible in videos and pictures. Also gesturing, body language and earlobes, since they are unique for every person.”
Budanov stated that “change is inevitable” in Moscow, and that the removal of President Putin is in the interests of “the whole civilized world.” He also called on the U.K. to help “speed up the events that will happen anyway.”
Addressing the British newspaper, he said: “We are grateful for the assistance your government is providing. We hope the U.K. will not only continue political, economic, and military support, but increase it. We are in acute need of air defense systems.”
As an ex-special forces operative appointed head of military intelligence, General Budanov has been linked by Russian state media with undercover operations in Crimea, with Budanov telling the Daily Mail “They [Russia] officially call me public Enemy Number One.”
Budanov has made previous claims relating to rumors of Putin using body doubles. In August, he stated that the Russian President was deploying lookalikes at public outings to hide health problems – problems that were widely discussed on social media but have been dismissed by analysts and officials in Washington.
“The picture, let’s say, of the ears, is different,” Budanov told Newsweek in August, following the release of images of Putin at a meeting with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The use of body doubles by infamous world leaders is not unprecedented.
The late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein reportedly had a roster of body doubles, according to U.S. Military officials, leading to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld having to address doubt about whether the U.S. had indeed captured Saddam Hussein in 2003, and not one of his decoys.
“Knowing that his doubles had used plastic surgery and could very well have done duplicate tattoos and bullet holes and various things [like] moles that would make it appear they were Saddam Hussein, the decision was made to have him publicly identified,” Rumsfeld said during a Pentagon meeting in 2004.
Joseph Stalin, former leader of the U.S.S.R. was also known for using body doubles, with one decoy, known only as “Rashid,” reportedly recruited to sit in for the dictator at banquets and meetings.
Kim Jong-un is another dictator renowned for having an array of lookalikes in his employ, with videos of him meeting with two decoys being widely published in the international press in 2017.
The North Korean leader is believed to use lookalikes to ward off potential assassination attempts.
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