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Putin is surrounded by doctors and takes breaks during meetings for treatment, claims ex-British spy

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Vladimir Putin is “increasingly ill” and is “constantly accompanied” by a team of doctors, former British spy Christopher Steele has claimed.

Mr Steele, who wrote a dossier on Donald Trump and Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 US elections, had earlier stated that the Russian leader was “quite seriously ill”, although the “exact details” of what ailed him are not known.

The latest remarks come amid mounting speculation on the Russian president’s allegedly deteriorating health and rumours that he is suffering from cancer.

“He’s constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors,” the former spy told LBC radio.

He also claimed that Mr Putin’s key meetings have to be divided into sections so that the president can take breaks in between to receive treatment from his 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.

“And so clearly he is seriously ill, I mean how terminal or incurable it is not clear, we can’t be entirely sure,” Mr Steele said, adding that this health is affecting the governance of Russia.

Mr Steele’s remarks on the 69-year-old president’s health come after an oligarch with close ties to Mr Putin was reportedly recorded saying that he is “very ill with blood cancer”.

The unnamed Russian oligarch alleged in the recording that Mr Putin had surgery on his back linked to his blood cancer shortly before ordering the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, according to the US-based New Lines magazine.

There have been mounting concerns over Mr Putin’s health after videos circulating on social media showed him “shaking uncontrollably”.

In April, Mr Putin was seen clutching a table for the entirety of a 12-minute video clip of a meeting he had with his defence minister.

The Russian president also appeared frail at public events, including Victory Day celebrations on 9 May.

Recently, video footage of Mr Putin from a meeting with his Tajikistan counterpart Emomali Rahmon showed the Russian leader fidgeting and twisting his foot.

“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,” Mr Steele told the radio station.

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