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JUST IN -- Rumors of Putin illness were true...

TIMES OF LONDON

President Putin had fallen ill when he disappeared from public view for 11 days last month, Russian military and intelligence figures have told their US counterparts.

The Kremlin drew a veil over his illness to avoid allowing Mr Putin to appear weak or comparisons in the western media with Boris Yeltsin and his chaotic loss of control as president.

The explanation, delivered without reference to a specific ailment, calms the storm of speculation that greeted Mr Putin’s absence.

He was rumoured to have suffered a stroke or even died, to have been recovering from Botox injections or rushing to the... 

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