Putin health update: What’s wrong with the Russian President? ‘Very ill’

Russia: Putin is ‘exacerbating problem’ says retired general

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Since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February experts have been trying to work out his motives for bringing war back to Europe. The 69-year-old’s well-being has been mentioned as one possible motivating factor, with a number of reports emerging about ill health.

One of the most persistent suggestions is that Mr Putin is suffering from a type of cancer.

In recent TV appearances, the Russian President has appeared noticeably more bloated around the face and neck, prompting talks that he could be undergoing some form of chemotherapy treatment.

An audio recording obtained by New Lines magazine saw an unnamed Russian oligarch describe Mr Putin as “very ill with blood cancer”.

He also said: “The problem is with his head.… One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.”

Last week Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov also said the Russian leader is seriously ill with cancer and that an operation to remove him is underway in Russia.

Such is the interest in Mr Putin’s health that every meeting he attends is now fiercely analysed for any tell-tale hints he could be ill.

When he met Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon last Tuesday, observers were quick to point out that Mr Putin struggled to sit still and was seen bizarrely tapping his feet for sustained periods.

Christopher Steele, one of Britain’s top former spies, believes the Russian President is now in need of around-the-clock medical care, leaving the Kremlin in a state of disarray.

He told LBC’s Eddie Mair: “He’s constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors.

“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.

“So, clearly, he is seriously ill – how terminal or incurable it is, is not clear, we can’t be entirely sure.

“But it’s certainly having a very serious impact on the governance of Russia at the moment.”

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A study conducted by independent Russian media outlet Proekt found that Mr Putin may have in fact been ill for the past five years.

Their research scrutinised the Russian President’s health since 2017, noting his absences and visits by specialist doctors.

During 2016 and 2017 it’s claimed Mr Putin was accompanied by a team of doctors wherever he went.

And in 2019 Mr Putin is reported to have had an average of nine doctors kept in his presence.

Who could replace Vladimir Putin?

If Mr Putin was removed from office the overwhelming favourite to replace him is the Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin.

Mr Mishustin chairs the Russian Federation’s central government and previously served as the country’s director of the taxation service.

He was nominated to become PM in 2020 after Dmitry Medvedev was accused of personal corruption.

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