Vladimir Putin’s elite bodyguards bag up his poo while he is abroad so it can be taken back to Russia with him, it has been reported.
Members of the Russian president’s Federal Protection Service (FPS) collect the excrement in special packets which are then stored in a dedicated briefcase for the trip home, according to Paris Match.
The grim exercise is allegedly undertaken to ensure foreign powers cannot get their hands on information about Putin’s health or potential treatments.
Reporters Regis Gente, author of two books on Russia, and Mikhail Rubin, who has covered the country for over a decade, say it was done on visits to France in May 2017 and Saudi Arabia in 2019.
Former BBC journalist Farida Rustamova appeared to confirm the bizarre claim, writing on Twitter that she was aware of Putin using ‘a special private bathroom’ on a trip to Vienna.
She cited an unnamed source as saying the Kremlin leader has travelled with a portable loo ‘since the beginning of his rule’.
Putin’s health has been the subject of intense rumour and speculation since he decided to launch his devastating invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested the 69-year-old has cancer, with an FSB officer claiming he has ‘no more than two to three years to stay alive’.
Putin was said to have needed ‘urgent medical assistance’ after falling ill following a phone call with military chiefs.