The 'wheels are coming off' for Vladimir Putin as his ailing health has plunged the Kremlin into chaos, a former British intelligence officer has said.
The Russian president is constantly surrounded by a team of doctors and requires around-the-clock care, according to Christopher Steele who used to run the Russia desk at MI6.
Speaking to Eddie Mair on LBC, he said the "exact details" of Putin's ill health remain shrouded in mystery, with even the Russian leader's high-ranking colleagues being kept in the dark.
But Mr Steele said it is clear the former KGB officer is seriously unwell and that his poor health is starting to have an effect on Moscow as it wages war on Ukraine.
He said: "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."
Speculation has been mounting over the true nature of Putin's medical issues, with some reports claiming he has been struck down with cancer and is receiving chemotherapy and steroid treatment.
Other claims suggest Putin is suffering with Parkinson's disease or the early stages of dementia.
A video went viral last month of the despot failing to control his hand in a plush meeting with a fellow dictator.
Mr Steele continued on LBC: "There's increasing disarray in the Kremlin and chaos in fact, that there's no clear political leadership coming from Putin who is increasingly ill, and that in the military's terms the structures of command and so on are not functioning as they should."
When asked by Mair if he thinks "the wheels are coming off", the former spy said: "I do, yes."
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