In the wake of rumors circulating about his alleged poisoning in Moscow, Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has forcefully dismissed such claims, affirming that he is "not going to die," according to reports obtained by

Speculations surrounding Lukashenko's health emerged in the aftermath of his sudden departure from Moscow on May 9, soon after the Victory Day parade held in Russia. Photos of the 68-year-old leader's hasty exit showed an ambulance tailing his vehicle as the convoy sped toward the airport.

While Lukashenko denied the poisoning allegations during a speech this week, he did concede that his abrupt exit from Moscow was health-related. "If someone thinks I'm about to die, calm down,” Lukashenko stated on Tuesday, as reported by the Daily Star. He dismissed the widespread rumors as nothing more than "chatter on messengers and Telegram channels."

Acknowledging his health challenges, he added, "I didn't have the opportunity to get treated. I had to go to Moscow, then Leningrad, then [volunteer activities]. And then you dragged me to Grodno. All that piled up."

Determinedly, he added, "I'm not going to die, guys. You'll have to struggle with me for a very long time to come."

As previously reported, conjecture about Lukashenko being poisoned—and potentially deceased—gained momentum after he was hospitalized on May 9. Initial rumors suggested that he was rushed to a hospital in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, and placed in a medically-induced coma. However, these allegations were later debunked.

Investigative journalist Ben Aris voiced the concern of many on May 14, saying, "[Lukashenko] is in the hospital, he is being prepared for an operation – and maybe the operation has already been performed.” Similarly, Belarusian opposition leader Pavel Latushka said, "We are working on an implementation of a plan in case of Lukashenko’s death."

Lukashenko has been a staunch ally of Putin since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In March, Putin announced that Lukashenko had granted Russia the right to station ten nuclear aircraft carriers in Belarus. However, Lukashenko has refrained from committing Belarusian troops to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.