Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws Kremlin into chaos

18 May 2022, 18:06 | Updated: 18 May 2022, 18:59

Christopher Steele tells LBC about 'chaos' in the Kremlin

By Daisy Stephens

There is growing chaos in the Russian government as Putin's mysterious illness has left him surrounded by doctors and in constant need of medical care, a former British spy has told LBC.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Christopher Steele, a former British government intelligence professional who wrote the dossier on alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, said the "exact details" of the president's illness were not known.

However he said he was "constantly" being followed by doctors and added he did not appear to be able to get through meetings of the security council without having to break for medical treatment.

"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.

Read more: Russian soldier admits killing civilian in first war crimes trial of Ukraine conflict

Read more: Fears Russia could renege on deal to free soldiers captured during siege of Mariupol

"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."

He added: "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."

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

He replied: "I do, yes."

Ukraine war should act as spur to move towards renewables

Mr Steele then talked about the fact the chief of staff Valery Gerasimov "has basically disappeared", with rumours circulating that he had been injured, as well as the fact the so-called "Butcher of Syria" Aleksandr Dvornikov did not appear to be in charge of all of Russia's military front.

"It looks increasingly febrile and increasingly unstable inside the Kremlin," he said.

He then said Putin had 'painted himself into a corner' and could not withdraw from the war because of a desire to "solidify his legacy".

He added the president is also likely to be trying to avoid showing weakness in the Kremlin, describing it as "a bit like a shark pool".

"The Russian Kremlin is a bit like a shark pool, they all swim round and if they smell blood in the water or taste blood in the water they start fighting," Mr Steele said.

Read more: Russian invasion slammed on state TV as ex-colonel blasts failures

Read more: Caller regrets hosting Ukrainian refugees as it has cost 'hundreds of pounds'

He then talked about what might happen if Putin needed to be replaced, saying the next president could be "more hardline" than the current one.

"The talk is that if anyone is going to replace Putin it's going to be somebody more - well, not hardline, but more hardline than Putin," he said.

"That isn't necessarily good news."

However he added: "I think there are people who are pragmatic and who aren't sort of entirely hitched to the war, and although they might not be ideal interlocutors for the West they still may be people who have political room for manoeuvre to come to some kind of deal, peace deal, with Ukrainians, and end this war."

Putin has reportedly been suffering from a mysterious illness for some time
Putin has reportedly been suffering from a mysterious illness for some time. Picture: Getty

There have been growing questions over Putin's health in recent months.

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.

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.

Some said it was an indicator he was trying to hide a tremor - which can be a symptom of Parkinson's as well as a side effect of steroid treatment.

Read more: Finland and Sweden apply to join Nato - adding nearly a million troops to force

Read more: Russia writes chilling messages on bombs set for Mariupol after Eurovision plea for help

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

None of the veterans he was with had their laps covered.

The 69-year-old also appeared to be walking with a heavy step, as if trying to conceal a limp.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Richard Tice has called for a police crackdown on ‘cash only’ barber shops

'Barber shops are fronts for money laundering drug money' claims Reform UK leader Richard Tice after LBC question

Breaking News

Girl, 9, in critical condition after being 'innocent victim' in Hackney shooting outside restaurant

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a Czech Defence Capabilities Event at Prague-Kbely Airport in Prague

Blinken condemns ‘poison’ of Russian misinformation

Kate will take part in the ceremony next month

Kate will not take part in Colonel's Review ahead of Trooping of the Colour ceremony next month, palace confirms

The groom reportedly found out 12 days after getting married.

Shocked groom finds out ‘wife’ is a man who was dressing as a woman just 12 days after getting married

Israel soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border

Two Israeli soldiers killed in West Bank car-ramming attack

Election volunteers count ballots in Johannesburg

Early South Africa election results put ruling ANC below 50%

King to take part in Trooping the Colour ceremony but will inspect soldiers from carriage

King to take part in Trooping the Colour ceremony but will inspect soldiers from carriage

Diego Maradona and West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher with their World Cup trophies in 1986

Maradona’s heirs lose court bid to block sale of World Cup Golden Ball trophy

An Israeli armored vehicle is seen near the border with Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, on May 29, 2024

Israel shoots down cruise missile ‘fired from Iraq’ as IDF seizes control of entire length of Gaza's border with Egypt

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Spain parliament gives final approval to amnesty law for Catalonia separatists

A Shiite Muslim holds a photograph of late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi

Iran opens registration for presidential election after Raisi’s helicopter death

Geri Halliwell had an awkward faux pas on her Instagram.

‘Sent images to Pippa’: Geri Halliwell's birthday tribute to Mel B goes viral after awkward PR gaffe

Attendees at the 10th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

China’s Xi pledges more Gaza aid and talks trade at summit with Arab leaders

Bernard, 41, and Ann McDonagh, 39, both of Sandfields, Port Talbot

Moment 'Britain's worst dine-and-dash couple' arrested by police after racking up nearly £1,200 in unpaid food bills

Lawrence Lau outside West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts

Hong Kong court convicts 14 pro-democracy activists in national security case