Ukraine's intelligence chief 'fully confirms' Vladimir Putin has cancer

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on transport complex development via a video link at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 24, 2022. (Photo by Mikhail Metzel / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian president Vladimir Putin has been claimed to have cancer, by senior Ukrainian sources. (PA)

Vladimir Putin has cancer but won't "die tomorrow", a Ukrainian intelligence official has reportedly claimed.

Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, told Ukrainian news outlet Pravda that the Russian president has "several illnesses".

He told the outlet: "Yes, we fully confirm this information, that Putin has cancer.

"He has several serious illnesses, one of which is cancer.

"But it’s not worth hoping that Putin will die tomorrow. He still has at least a few years left. Whether we like it or not, that’s the truth."

Putin's state of mind has been repeatedly questioned in recent months following his order for his soldiers to invade Ukraine.

FILE - Maksym, 3, is photographed with his brother, Dmytro, 16, on top of a destroyed Russian tank, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, May 8, 2022. Three months after it invaded Ukraine hoping to overtake the country in a blitz, Russia has bogged down in what increasingly looks like a war of attrition with no end in sight. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
Maksym, three, is photographed with his brother, Dmytro, 16, on top of a destroyed Russian tank, on the outskirts of Kyiv. (AP)
FILE - Russian troops walk in a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, May 18, 2022. This photo was taken during a trip organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Three months after it invaded Ukraine hoping to overtake the country in a blitz, Russia has bogged down in what increasingly looks like a war of attrition with no end in sight. (AP Photo, File)
Russian troops walk in a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant in Mariupol. (AP)

His health has also come under renewed scrutiny, with a former MI6 operative Christopher Steele telling talk radio station LBC that Putin has to take regular breaks from meetings to seek medical treatment.

He said: "Our understanding is that there's increasing disarray in the Kremlin and chaos.

"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."

Watch: Putin huddled under blanket during Victory Day parade

He added: "What we do know is that he's constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors."

Government meetings, of which many are televised, are having to be broken into sections due to Putin's health, Steele claimed.

"It's certainly having a very serious impact on the governance of Russia at the moment."

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Last month, questions around Putin;s health increased when a video from February showed him “shaking uncontrollably” during a meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus.

That followed a report by a Russian investigative journalism group that Putin had been visited by a cancer surgeon dozens of times over a four-year period.

Moscow has not formally responded to rumours about Putin's health. However, in November 2020, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected widely reported claims that the Russian president had Parkinson's disease and was poised to quit.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” Peskov said. “Everything is fine with the president.”

It has been three months since Russian troops attempted to take control, but in that time Putin's troops have made limited gains - with Ukrainian authorities claiming almost 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in that time.

It was reported earlier this week that Putin was able to survive an assassination attempt two months ago.

Budanov said there was an “unsuccessful” attempt against the Kremlin leader’s life at the start of Russia’s brutal invasion of its neighbour.

"This is nonpublic information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place. … It was about two months ago.”

Western officials are reportedly skeptical of the assassination claim.

Watch: Russian to the UN quits and pens scathing letter slamming Putin

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