Ukraine War, April 1, 2022 (II): So far, sanctions have failed; Russian investigative journalism outlet Project Media (“Proekt”) reports Putin may have thyroid cancer


Due to rapidly-breaking developments and in order to facilitate readers’ access to the latest dispatches, we are publishing this article as it is being written. please check back for updates and additions.

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.


1) Ben Marlow, “The West must now wage total economic war against Vladimir Putin; Sanctions are losing their potency and have failed to crush the Russian economy,” The Telegraph, March 31, 2022 (5:52pm);

2) Tom Ough, “Vladimir Putin ‘visited by cancer doctor 35 times and bathes in deer antlers’; The Russian president also keeps a thyroid specialist at his side, according to Proekt, an investigative journalism outlet,” The Telegraph, April 1, 2022 (2:30 p.m);

3) “Project Media, designated as undesirable NGO in Russia, being liquidated – media team,” Interfax, July 16, 2021 (02:06);

4) Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russian Strategy in Ukraine Shifts After Setbacks, and a Lengthy War Looms; Moscow’s new focus on Donbas and retreats from Kyiv set the stage for a protracted war of attrition,” Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2022 (11:21 am ET);


Marlow writes,

Russia’s pledge to reduce military activity around Kyiv, as part of what it calls “de-escalation”, has rightly been met with scepticism in the West, though sadly not nearly enough.

The move has prompted talk at the highest levels about whether sanctions should be lifted if Russia retreats and commits to peace.

The possibility of sanctions removal was first raised by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, a fortnight ago, on the basis that Vladimir Putin agreed to an “irreversible” withdrawal from Ukraine.

Then in an interview with The Telegraph last weekend, Liz Truss said the West could relent if Moscow withdraws and commits to “no further aggression”.

This is naive in the extreme and suggests America, Europe and Britain have learnt nothing about Russia’s psychotic regime. Have they forgotten what two decades of appeasement achieved?

Russian investigative journalism outlet (“Proekt”) reports Putin may have thyroid cancer

Ough reports a Russian investigative news outlet, “Proekt”, has published a report suggesting Vladimir Putin may be suffering from thyroid cancer. It bases its reports on travel and other records showing how often specialists visited Putin in Sochi or traveled with him.

While the report is intriguing, much more needs to be known to corroborate the thrust of the article, including a copy of the report itself and details on by whom and where it was published. Ough reports that “Proekt” was founded in Russia, but is now blocked in the country.

According to the Russian news platform Interfax, Proekt Media or Project Media was a U.S. NGO which was forced to liquidate its operations in Russia in July 2021, after being designated as an “undesirable organization”.

Readers should be aware that this report could be Russian government disinformation. If true, if Putin really does have thyroid cancer, that fact would change the calculus in any nuclear confrontation with the U.S. and NATO.

Putin knows this. So there is ample reason to take the report with a grain of salt.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.