June 26, 2019
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Paper says Austrian doctor treating Putin for back problems

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with women, including mothers of recipients of the highest state honor — the Hero of Russia gold star medal — to congratulate them on International Women's Day at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 8.

VIENNA — An Austrian newspaper reported on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was suffering from back problems, and that a Viennese orthopedic expert had traveled to Moscow to treat him.

The Kurier paper did not name the doctor or give the source of the information for its report, which comes amid widespread speculation on the Russian leader’s whereabouts.

Putin, who has not been seen in public or on live television broadcasts for more than a week, postponed a meeting with Kazakh and Belarusian leaders last week.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not pick up his phone when contacted by Reuters to comment on the report.

Putin’s silence in the past week has fueled feverish speculation on everything from the state of his health to his grip on power and whether he went to Switzerland to watch his girlfriend give birth.

The Kremlin has denied the rumors.

Putin has a scheduled meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg on March 16, the Kremlin said in a statement on Friday.

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