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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Extended Hospital Stay Likely for Yeltsin

The Kremlin said Tuesday that President Boris Yeltsin was likely to spend the rest of this week in the hospital as he prepares for heart surgery -- a stay that appears longer than planned.

Yeltsin, 65, looked tanned and relaxed in brief silent footage released by Russian television showing him meeting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in the hospital on Tuesday. It was not clear why there was no sound.

Yeltsin, wearing an open-necked white shirt and gray cardigan, smiled and gestured with his arms as he sat chatting with Chernomyrdin in a sequence lasting about a minute.

Despite Yeltsin's apparent vigor, presidential press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky said the Kremlin leader was still undergoing tests in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital.

"It is very likely that Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] will stay in the Central Clinical Hospital until the end of the week," Yastrzhembsky told a Kremlin briefing.

"He is in the hospital, to the delight of the doctors who have at last got their hands on him as an in-patient."

It was the second extension in as many days to Yeltsin's stay in the hospital, where he arrived last Friday for tests initially expected to last only over the weekend. The Kremlin said Monday he would stay another two days.

Yastrzhembsky gave a new date for a council of doctors to decide when to perform an operation on the president. He said the medical experts would meet Sept. 25 or 26.

The Kremlin had earlier said doctors would set the date of the operation between Sept. 27 and 29.

U.S. heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, who performed the world's first successful bypass operation, was likely to join the discussion, Yastrzhembsky said. He had no information on the planned role for two German doctors suggested by Bonn.

Yastrzhembsky gave no details of the medical reasons for a prolonged hospital stay this week.

The news could intensify speculation that not all was in order in the run-up to the expected bypass operation.

Yastrzhembsky did not directly deny some media re tradition of secrecy, when he announced that tests carried out in mid-August showed a need for cardiac surgery.

But there is still no clear explanation of what happened to Yeltsin at the end of June when, after four months of an ultra-energetic campaign to win a second term in the Kremlin, he disappeared from the public eye and opted for seclusion.

Some doctors and media say his problems might be more complex than the clogged cardiac arteries cited by the Kremlin.

Yastrzhembsky did not mention any plans to hand over presidential powers. He said last week Yeltsin was considering ways of passing on some authority while he is having surgery, including the "red button" controlling Russia's nuclear weapons.