Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be constantly in the company of doctors as talk of his ailing health grows. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who ran the Russia desk at MI6 London said Putin is surrounded by a team of doctors 24/7 hinting that the leader is likely seriously ill.

According to the Mirror, the former British spy said the need for around-the-clock medical care is indicative of Putin’s declining health although his illness still remains cloaked in mystery. The true nature of his illness has caused much speculation based on his recent appearances during televised meetings with officials. 

"Meetings of the security council that are shown to supposedly last for a whole hour are actually broken up into several sections, he goes out and receives some kind of medical treatment between those sections,” Steele said.

Speaking to LBC’s Eddie Mair, Steele pointed out that even Putin’s high-ranking officials are kept in the dark about his state of health. “Clearly, he is seriously ill - how terminal or incurable it is, is not clear, we can't be entirely sure,” the former spy added. 

Steele’s remarks follow Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov’s comments who recently said that Putin is suffering from cancer and a plot to remove him from power is underway.

During his interview, Steel highlighted the increasing disarray in the Kremlin citing reports of chaos and the clear lack of leadership from Putin at a time when military structure and command are much needed.

Meanwhile, an audio recording of an oligarch close to the Kremlin was obtained by New Lines magazine described Putin as “very ill with blood cancer”. The report said that a top-secret memo was sent out by the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) to all its regional directors laying instructions not to trust rumors about Putin’s terminal illness. However, the directive seems to have had the opposite effect as FSB officers now believe that the 69-year-old leader is indeed suffering from serious medical issues.

The oligarch was said to not have been aware he was being recorded and New Lines claims they were able to easily authenticate his identity and voice but have decided to withhold his identity or any other details of his biography for fear of retaliation. Any person caught spreading fake information about the war in Ukraine will face 15-year imprisonment. 

For now, mere speculation surrounds Putin’s health issues with reports claiming he is enduring cancer and has been receiving chemotherapy along with steroid treatment. Some claim he is also battling Parkinson’s disease and early stages of dementia.

Vladimir Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on May 20, 2022. Photo by Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images