Vladimir Putin’s body language when arriving to meet Xi Jinping in China has been described by an expert as “a little jerky” – fueling speculation he may be hiding serious health issues.

The Russian president touched down in Beijing on Tuesday to meet his Chinese counterpart and “dear friend” Xi ahead of the Belt and Road Forum dinner.

Putin was seen smiling and adjusting his jacket as he stepped from a car to be greeted by China’s leader.

He then pulled at the sleeves on his suit as he made his way up a steep flight of red velvet stairs toward Xi.

But body language Judi James noted some of the gestures from the Russian president seemed “a little jerky” – with one hand twitching as he posed for a group photo.

She told The Sun Online: “These could be prompted by anxiety or health issues but they don’t look pronounced.”

Putin has been plagued by speculation he could be seriously ill after a Russian Telegram channel claimed his death is “imminent”.

Telegram General SVR alleged the Russian president had experienced a “sharp deterioration in his health” and body doubles could be used to impersonate him after he dies or is removed from power.

It claimed: “The attending doctors predict Putin’s imminent death amid a sharp deterioration in his health.

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“In the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a fuss began with an attempt to create a consensus around the idea of the continuation of the existence of the Putin regime after Putin.

“There is a general understanding that for some time it has been possible to use a double of the president after the death or removal from power of the real Vladimir Putin.

“Almost all interested parties are ready to rally around a double who can be controlled.‌ The only problem is who will control the double, and this requires mutual trust, which simply does not exist.”

Speculation around Putin’s ill health has intensified over the past several months, with the Russian leader only making a handful of public appearances and speeches since the Ukraine war began.

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But last week he appeared on camera in front of the international media to suggest Russia could broker a peace deal between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group in their ongoing conflict.

On Tuesday, he also made a rare trip outside of Russia to travel to China and was seen arriving in Beijing before being greeted by his counterpart Xi Jinping.

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