Vladimir Putin is suffering from “several serious illnesses” including cancer, but the Russian president will likely live “at least a few more years,” a Ukrainian intelligence chief claims in a new report.
Kyiv military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov also said assassins targeted Putin but the attempt to take him out was thwarted.
“In an much-heralded interview with Ukrayinska Pravda, Budanov, 36, confirmed that the Ukrainians believe Putin is suffering from cancer, but did not add to an advance excerpt from the interview which revealed an apparent assassination bid on him,” the Daily Mail reported.
“He has several serious illnesses, one of which is cancer,” he said. “But it is not worth hoping that Putin will die tomorrow. He has at least a few more years. Like it or not, but it’s true.”
Still, the spy chief said Putin is in a “confused” state mentally, Budanov added.
“Here we can argue a lot about the state of the dictator, who thought he would capture the whole country [Ukraine] in three days and raise the Russian flag on the administration building in Kyiv,” he said. “And for the third month in a row, declaring that he has the second and sometimes the first army in the world, he cannot cope, in his words, ‘with backward non-state Ukraine.'”
It’s not the first time Putin’s health has been called into question. Some reports say the 69-year-old former KGB agent has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, while others say that judging by his physical behavior at public events, he may have something else, like Parkinson’s or dementia.
But another take, this one from a former MI6 chief, went further, saying Putin would be out of power and end up in a long-term care facility by 2023, according to the New York Post.
“I’m really going to stick my neck out. I think he’ll be gone by 2023,” Sir Richard Dearlove, who ran Britain’s CIA-like agency, said on the “One Decision” podcast, which he co-hosts. “Probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as leader of Russia.”
Institutionalizing Putin could be what Dearlove called an “elegant” alternative to a coup. In that event, he said one likely successor would be secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev.
“If my thesis were fulfilled and Putin did disappear into a sanatorium, I think he’s the likely stand-in,” said Dearlove, who served as head of the British Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 until 2004. “And of course the stand-in [in] this scenario probably becomes permanent. I mean, you know there is no succession in the Russian leadership. They certainly don’t succession-plan.”
Over the last few weeks, speculation has swirled about Putin’s health. He skipped a hockey game in which he had played for about a decade, and in one public appearance, he appeared bloated and was seen clinging to a table.
In another report, an oligarch close to the Kremlin claimed Putin is “very ill with blood cancer,” according to a secret recording obtained by New Lines Magazine.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.