SPECULATION is rising that Vladimir Putin’s close war ally, Belarus tyrant Alexander Lukashenko is seriously ill – or even dead.
He has not been seen since in public since he was rushed to the airport with an ambulance in tow in Moscow after attending Russia’s Victory Day military parade on Tuesday.
Images of him at the parade show him visibly fatigued, with one of his hands bandaged.
Rumours suggest the 68-year-old puppet leader was hospitalised at an elite clinic in Minsk with claims he was "in a medical coma".
Putin – who is also the subject of health rumours – was reportedly shocked at Lukashenko’s condition in Moscow and tried to call him after his return to Minsk but was unable to get through.
Some rumours have claimed Lukashenko suffered a myocardial infarction, Covid-related problems – or even poisoning.
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Belarusian opposition leader Pavel Latushka said: “He's been gone for four days now. Sick, poisoned, simulating?
“We [the opposition] are working on implementation of a plan in case of Lukashenko’s death.”
An unconfirmed account today is that Lukashenko came through "unpleasant" surgery unrelated to his heart and is stable.
His office has not commented, causing rumours to escalate.
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Belarus expert, Russian pro-war academic Andrey Suzdaltsev, said: “Lukashenko came well through the surgery. He is feeling not bad…he is recovering.”
In the days before his disappearance from public view, Lukashenko was seemingly unable to walk a distance less than a quarter of a mile on Red Square after the parade.
He was also rumoured to have been publicly pleading with Putin to provide him a buggy over the cobbled stones to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
He then failed to speak at his own Victory Day event in Minsk later the same day, with state media broadcasting footage of him from the previous year.
New footage of him a few days before his disappearance shows him walking slowly and awkwardly with his three sons.
At one point Lukashenko held his hand close on his chest, as his son Viktor gave a concerned look in his direction, while other son Nikolai clenched his fists.
Russian Telegram channels have suggested that Lukashenko is ill with a "long-running but unspecified condition" that requires surgery.
One channel claimed: “The Belarus leader is in the hospital, he is being prepared for an operation – and maybe the operation has already been performed."
Some reports have suggested he requires Western surgery but cannot obtain this due to sanctions over his rigging of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, and backing for Putin in the war against Ukraine.
Ukrainian source Unian alleged the overweight dictator – who has ruled Belarus almost three decades – suffers “very serious ailments of the endocrine system and cardiac diseases”.
Russian sources believe Lukashenko has previously feigned illness to avoid being strong-armed by Putin.
The Belarus leader has permitted Russian troops and air force on his landlocked territory bordering Ukraine, he has not committed his forces to the war.
He has also resisted Putin’s bid to fully absorb Belarus into Russia.
In 2020, Lukashenko awarded himself a landslide by rigging the ballot on a grand scale in an election overwhelmingly won by opposition candidate, Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was forced into exile.
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His eldest son Viktor, 47, who has been a top security official, may seek to continue the tyrannical Lukashenko dynasty relying on Moscow’s support.
The death of the dictator is may see Putin seek to integrate Belarus into Russia – even using military force to do so.
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