By Nina Bachkatov
The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive, backed by Western new weapons and shared intelligence resources, obliged president Putin to come out. It took the form of a televised address to the nation, against a background of leakages and unusual stage crafting. It was first due to take place on the 20th evening, then it was postponed for the next day, at 8, then at 9 o’clock. That was enough to unleash new speculation concerning Putin’s physical and moral condition. The usual well-informed sources said that he had been so affected by fever and coughs that he was unable to face the cameras, despite the dispatch of a large medical staff; and that the program shown as a single tirade was in fact a re-mix of interrupted sessions.
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