Putin 'seriously ill,' claims ex-spy; oligarch says it's blood cancer
Russian President Vladimir Putin is "seriously ill," claimed former British spy Christopher Steele, adding his illness is an "element" of everything that is happening in Ukraine. "What we're hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill," Steele said. However, the nature of his illness—whether "it's incurable or terminal, or whatever"—is not yet clear, he added.
- Rumors about Putin's health intensified since the Russia-Ukraine war as he reportedly appeared frail at various public events. Putin is reportedly suffering from Parkinson's disease or cancer.
- Last week's Victory Day parade fuelled speculation over his health further after he was seen covering his legs with a thick green blanket to combat the relatively mild 9 °C weather.
- He was also reportedly spotted coughing.
Meanwhile, a Russian oligarch who has close ties with Putin was recorded as saying, "Putin is very ill with blood cancer." In the call recording, the unnamed oligarch reportedly discussed Putin's health with a Western venture capitalist and said Putin had surgery on his back for his blood cancer shortly before ordering the invasion of Ukraine. The president has gone "crazy", the oligarch added.
Reportedly, the oligarch can also be heard saying in the recording, "We all hope that Mr. Putin dies. He absolutely ruined Russia's economy, Ukraine's economy, and many other economies—ruined absolutely." "The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down," he added. The oligarch's name has been kept anonymous as the Western businessman recorded the conversation without his permission.
Separately, a senior Ukrainian military official claimed the Russian president has cancer and other ailments. Putin is in a "very bad psychological and physical condition and he is very sick," he told Sky News. Recently, in a video meeting with Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin was seen tightly clutching the table in front of him for the entire 12 minutes of the meeting.
Notably, the Kremlin has never commented on the reports of Putin's ill health. It is believed that the Kremlin has been tightly controlling President's appearances and setting limits on his meetings to try and maintain his strongman persona.