London, March 23
A video is going viral on Russian social media claiming Vladimir Putin is conning his people by using multiple body doubles for trips he doesn't want to make, Daily Mail reported.
It seizes on speculation that the Kremlin president's only trip so far to newly-invaded territory in Mariupol was performed by a doppelganger, and asks: "Who is ruling Russia?"
It is unclear who made the footage but it appears to be aimed at reaching Russians who rely on uber-loyalist state media for their news.
Putin is widely believed to have had regular plastic surgery as he has aged since first becoming acting president on the last day of 1999, Daily Mail reported.
Rumours are rife that Putin 'understudies' -- who have undergone plastic surgery to resemble him -- are deployed increasingly as his health worsens amid rumours of cancer and early stage Parkinson's.
"Evidently the weakest double was sent to Mariupol", states the video in Russian. "They forgot to put in his jaw."
Earlier Ukraine mocked Putin for allegedly "sending a lookalike to war-ravaged Mariupol" in a high security visit, Daily Mail reported.
Kyiv official Anton Gerashchenko posted three images of Putin's chin and questioned whether they belonged to the same man.
He taunted: "What's up with your chin, Putin?"
The Interior Minister advisor posted: 'Looks like lately his makeup artists (i.e. for the recent trips of the bunker man to the occupied Crimea and Mariupol) had to work with quite a low-quality copy, not even a double but its copy.
"I wonder which one of them was real?"
One picture showed Putin, 70, one month ago in an address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow.
Another was Putin's reported visit to naval port Sevastopol in Crimea on March 18.
And the third was from footage released the following day evidently showing Putin in war-blitzed Mariupol, Daily Mail reported.
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