A Russia 24 TV channel anchor interrupted a live interview on Thursday to broadcast pre-taped footage of the country’s National Security Council operational meeting, which included Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who hasn’t been seen in over a week. The broadcaster, however, did not say when the meeting took place.
The anchor quoted Russia’s presidential spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov, suggesting Shoigu was giving a report on the so-called "Ukrainian military operation" remotely. The footage did not show Shoigu speak, but his image appeared on screen among other video call participants reporting to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Shoigu, a close ally of Putin, has not been seen lately despite having a leading role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Some Russian media reports have speculated that he could have health problems.
The Kremlin spokesman previously dismissed Shoigu’s lack of public presence by saying he “has a lot on his plate at the moment.” Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Peskov also refused to comment on an independent investigation into Defence Ministry sources leaking information about Shoigu’s health problems.
Shoigu last appeared in a Channel One broadcast on March 18, which the Russian outlet said was from that day. But Russian journalists have speculated that the event being broadcast was from March 11.