Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power is fading, according to former British spy Christopher Steele.
According to Steele, Putin has to take regular breaks from meetings for continuous medical treatment. Mr. Steele spoke of “increasing disarray in the Kremlin” following weeks of rumors about Putin’s failing health.
“Our understanding is that there’s increasing disarray in the Kremlin and chaos,” said Steele.
Christopher Steele is a former MI6 operative, heading up the spy agency’s Russia desk for three years in Russia. Steele’s purported dossier on Trump’s activities Russia prior to the 2016 election was used by Democrats to smear then-candidate Trump as beholden to Moscow.
The dossier included damaging allegations that former President Trump had committed obscene acts, including the rumored “pee tape.” Evidence of the tape has never been found and additional headline-grabbing claims have been discredited and have not been independently confirmed.
Now Steele sees Putin’s grip on power fading fast. “There’s no clear political leadership coming from Putin, who is increasingly ill, and in military terms, the structures of command and so on are not functioning as they should,” Steele said.
While Steele did not cite his sources, he said he was “fairly confident” of his claims.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s top spokesperson, has repeatedly denied any issues with Putin’s health. “What we do know is that he’s constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors,” Steele said.
Steele claimed that government meetings are televised and have to be broken up into sections so that President Putin can receive ongoing treatments.
“It’s certainly having a very serious impact on the governance of Russia at the moment,” Steele said.
Putin ‘not likely’ to withdraw from Ukraine
According to Steele, Putin is not likely to withdraw from Ukraine “because of the sort of political corner he has painted himself into. It’s probably driving his wish to solidify his legacy as he sees it.”
Rumors of President Putin’s bad health have been circulating for months.
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, suggested that a Kremlin coup is underway and Putin is “very sick.”
After recent television appearances where the president looked fidgety, puffy, and pained, rumors went into overdrive. Speculation runs rampant that Putin may have Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or a type of cancer.
In an interview, Steele gave credence to the rumor that President Putin has Parkinson’s disease, saying he is “probably” ill with the disease. However, “we don’t know the exact details of what his ailment is,” said Steele.
An in-depth investigation conducted by Russian outlet Proekt examined flight records. It determined that Putin has had a medical entourage with as many as a dozen doctors with him at a time for the last decade. This included multiple visits from a thyroid cancer specialist.