Vladimir Putin is ‘very ill with blood cancer’, a Russian oligarch has claimed according to a new report, amid on-going speculation about the strongman’s health.
An audio recording of the oligarch’s comments was obtained by a Western venture capitalist and shared with New Lines magazine, the publication said.
In it, the oligarch – who has close ties to the Kremlin and named only as ‘Yuri’ to protect his identity – claimed a number of the health problems Putin is believed to be suffering from are linked to him having blood cancer.
One example given was Putin’s lower back problems, New Lines reported. The Russian tyrant underwent surgery on his back in October 2021, just a few months before he ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Other examples cited by the magazine included Putin’s increasingly puffy face – a possible indicator of steroid use in his recovery – and the fact that he appears to be walking with a limp.
Other sources have claimed in recent months that Putin, 69, is suffering from Parkinson’s. He has been seen in public less frequently than normal, and when he is shown on television, his appearances are heavily curated.
But despite the Kremlin being scrupulous with what footage of Putin is released to the public, there have been a number of signs that he is unwell.
On Monday, Putin gave a speech during Moscow’s Victory Day parade – an annual event Russia celebrates to mark the end of its involvement in the Second World War.
Putin was shown awkwardly walking through Red Square – possibly to hide a limp. He was also seen with a blanket across his lap as he watched the proceedings, despite Moscow that day being a relatively mild 48 Fahrenheit (9C).