Former British spy says Putin is ‘pretty gravely ill’

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Former British spy Christopher Steele, who wrote a dossier on Donald Trump and claimed that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election, claims that Vladimir Putin is “pretty gravely ill”.

“Certainly, from what we’ve heard from sources in Russia and elsewhere, Putin is actually pretty seriously ill,” the former British spy told Sky News on Sunday.

However, Mr. Steele said it was not possible to determine exactly what the disease was.

“It’s unclear exactly what this disease is – is it incurable or fatal or whatever. But definitely, I think that’s part of the equation,” he added.

The remarks came after the USA magazine New Lines He claimed that a Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin obtained an audio recording telling a Western venture capitalist the Russian leader “had cancer of the blood”.

The unnamed oligarch, whose identity and voice the magazine claims could easily be verified, was recorded discussing Putin’s health in mid-March.

The Kremlin claimed that the Russian president is fit and well.

The recording can be heard saying that the oligarch had undergone back surgery due to blood cancer shortly before Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, which he called a “special military operation.”

The oligarch added that the president was “crazy”.

A few days ago, Ukrainian major general Kyrylo Budanov claimed that the Russian leader was seriously ill with cancer and that a coup was staged in Russia to remove him from office.

In an interview, Mr. Budanov said that the Russian leader is battling other diseases besides cancer.

New Lines magazine reported that a “top secret memo” was sent by the headquarters of Russia’s internal security agency, the FSB, instructing all regional directors to instruct regional chiefs not to trust rumors about the president’s latest status.

Pointing to the speculation, Mr Steele said: “When you see this happening, you probably think it’s true. So, I think there’s an element of his illness in that. [the decision to invade Ukraine] and his legacy.”

The former British spy said that even if Putin is sick, it may be difficult for someone else to have any influence over his approach.

“Overall, there are very few people ready to oppose or argue with President Putin… Although there are dissenting voices, discordant voices, I think there are people who tell him this is a disastrous war, especially over the economy. This is not going to end well for Russia, and we can only hope that it will lead to some kind of policy change, or even regime change when the time comes, but that is by no means certain.”

Putin’s body language was studied by body language experts last week during Russia’s Victory Day celebrations after speculation about his health surfaced.

They concluded that the puffiness of his face and his unsteady gait might suggest that he was taking some form of medicine for an illness.

In April, Putin was seen clumsily clinging to a table for the entire 12-minute video clip of a meeting with the defense minister.