Russian President Vladimir Putin has survived an attempt on his life in recent days, according to a report.
The news of Putin's attempted assassination comes in the midst of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has not gone well for Russia lately. Ukrainian forces have recaptured large swathes of land from the Russians in a stunning counter-offensive in Eastern Ukraine this month.
General GVR Telegram channel, citing an insider from the Russian presidential palace, reported on Wednesday that the attempt on Putin's life was made when he was driving around in Moscow. Putin escaped without injuries, according to the report.
However, questions have been raised at the credibility of the report as there is no evidence supporting it. Moreover, this is not for the firt time that unverifiable reports on Putin have come. Sections of the Western press have earlier reported on his speculated illnesses and surgeries.
What we know of reports of Putin's assassination
Russian President Vladimir Putin was travelling in a decoy motorcade of five vehicles during the failed assassination attempt, according to the report.
A decoy motorcade is one of the multiple idential motorcade to deceive the enemy. The idea is that the enemy would not know which one to attack since both motorcades are identical.
"On the way to the residence, a few kilometres away, the first escort car was blocked by an ambulance, [and] the second escort car drove around without stopping [due to the] sudden obstacle, and during the detour of the obstacle. A loud bang sounded from the left front wheel [of Putin's car] followed by heavy smoke," reported portal Euro Weekly citing the GeneralGVR Telegram channel.
The report further claimed three people in the first car of the motorcade have since disappeared. People have also been taken into custody from among those involved in Putin's protective details.
"The head of the president’s bodyguard [service] and several other people have been suspended and are in custody," said the report.
Experts question report's credibility, flag lack of proof
Independent experts have, however, reported that there is no evidence to support the report. Moreover, they have also highlighted that the Telegram channel reporting the alleged assassination attempt is not a credible sources as it has published unverifiable content in the past as well.
Olga Lautman, Senior Fellow at think tank Center for European Policy Analysis, called the channel "soap opera central" for its history of sensationalism.
"The Putin assassination attempt rumor is coming from the weird telegram channel that is most likely run by Russian intel and has Putin dead 10x over. Be careful with spreading info that has no sources or attempts to generate panic," said Lautman on Twitter.
For those who asked. The Putin assassination attempt rumor is coming from the weird telegram channel that is most likely run by Russian intel and has Putin dead 10x over. Be careful with spreading info that has no sources or attempts to generate panic.— Olga Lautman 🇺🇦 (@OlgaNYC1211) September 14, 2022
Newsweek reported that there is no way to confirm the allegations in the report. Moreover, it highlighted the credibility of the Telegram channel.
"There has been widespread skepticism about the claims made by the Telegram channel, which regularly posts alleged insider information about Putin and the Kremlin, but offers no evidence to support their veracity...Some also suspect it to be a Russian security services operation, perhaps as a way of weeding out moles in the president's circle," reported Newsweek.
Not the first such report on Putin
This is not the first timet that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been subject of such a report.
Earlier, there was a report of an assassination attempt in February around the time he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
A Ukrainian newspaper, Ukrayinska Pravda, reported a Russian intelligence official as saying: "There was an attempt to assassinate Putin...He was even attacked, it is said, by representatives of the Caucasus, not so long ago. This is non-public information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really happened...There was no publicity about this event, but it took place."
Business Insider at the time noted that the report was part of a series of claims on Putin's poor health and his hold on Russia.
"The assassination claim is the latest in a long string of claims —of varying reliability— about Putin's health and its influence on his leadership in Russia. Most recently, on Wednesday, the former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove said Putin would be out of power by 2023 and be committed to a sanatorium," reported the Insider.
Serious concerns on Putin's health
Besides these unverified reports, there have been some credible report on Russian President Vladimir Putin's health.
Newsweek in July reported that US intelligence agencies believe that Putin underwent cancer treatment in April. It further reported a US intelligence assessment that there was an indeed an assassination attempt in March.
A video of Putin meeting his defence minister, appearing to show him ill, has also been cited as an evidence of his sickness.
Putin is hailing Russia's "liberation" of Mariupol after his forces completely destroyed during a two-month siege.— max seddon (@maxseddon) April 21, 2022
He told defense minister Sergei Shoigu to block off the Azovstal metallurgical plant, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up, "so that a fly can't get in." pic.twitter.com/g2lNd44qXF
"He was far from a picture of health [in the video], slouching in his chair and gripping the table with his right hand," noted Newsweek of Putin in the video above.