Putin has had cancer, says Oliver Stone who spent 2 years shadowing him

21 May 2022, 20:00 | Updated: 21 May 2022, 20:34

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to a question from American film director Oliver Stone during an interview at the Kremlin June 19, 2019 in Moscow, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to a question from American film director Oliver Stone during an interview at the Kremlin June 19, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. Picture: Getty/Alamy/Twitter/@Kremlinpool_RIA

By Sophie Barnett

Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone has revealed that Vladimir Putin has suffered from cancer, amid speculation that the Kremlin leader is battling the disease.

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The US filmmaker - whose credits include JFK and Platoon - was granted unprecedented access to the Russian leader from 2015 to 2017, conducting more than a dozen interviews with Putin, with no topic off-limits.

In a new podcast, Stone - who has not met Putin for three years - claimed that the Russian leader had suffered from cancer, and that he believed he had overcome it.

If true, this has not been admitted to the Russian people.

"Remember this, Mr Putin has had this cancer and I think he’s licked it," he told podcast interviewer Lex Fridman.

"But he’s also been isolated because of Covid."

The bombshell claim comes amid growing speculation that the Russian leader is suffering from cancer, after a former British spy exclusively told LBC's Eddie Mair that Putin is "constantly" being followed by doctors.

Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele said the Russian leader did not appear to be able to get through meetings of the security council without having to break for medical treatment.

He claimed there's "increasing disarray in the Kremlin and chaos" amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as a result of the leader's illness.

Read more: Video shows Putin 'uncontrollably convulsing' during meeting with Lukashenko

Read more: John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

"He's constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors," he told LBC's Eddie Mair.

"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.

"And so clearly he is seriously ill, I mean 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."

Read more: Ending Ukraine war might need 'external peacemakers' like the Pope, says John McDonnell

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to a question from American film director Oliver Stone during an interview at the Kremlin June 19, 2019 in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to a question from American film director Oliver Stone during an interview at the Kremlin June 19, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. Picture: Alamy

Mr Steele said there's "no clear political leadership coming from Putin" who is increasingly ill.

"In the military's terms the structures of command and so on are not functioning as they should," he claimed.

Eddie then asked: "Do you think the wheels are coming off?

"He replied: "I do, yes."

The Kremlin has always strongly denied Putin is ill, but critics say mysterious disappearances, long tables and his sometimes bloated, trembling appearance may prove otherwise.

Changes in his appearance and behaviour have led to claims he is suffering from an illness such as Parkinson's, while others have said his symptoms could be side effects of steroid treatment.

American film director Oliver Stone Russian during an interview with President Vladimir Putin.
American film director Oliver Stone Russian during an interview with President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Alamy

In April a video circulated that some said showed him suffering an "uncontrollable convulsive movement" during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Another video showed him tightly gripping a table during a meeting with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

More recently, the president was pictured with a blanket over his knees during a military parade on Russia's Victory Day.