Vladimir Putin is 'becoming increasingly ill' says Steele
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Speculation has been high over the state of the Russian President’s health with rumours swirling in recent months. And now an MI6 source has claimed that it is even possible Putin could already be dead.
The insider said that if the Russian leader died his loyal inner circle of cronies would cover it up for as long as possible to cling on to power.
The source added that body doubles could be used for public appearances to keep up the ruse.
The intelligence insider told the Star on Sunday: “Putin is very ill and when he dies his death will be kept secret for weeks, if not months.
“There is also the possibility that he is already dead.
“It’s impossible to know.
“It is believed that Putin has employed body doubles in the past when he has been unwell and the Kremlin could be doing so now.
“Putin is the head of a small group of senior officials who are completely loyal to him.
“The real fear [for them] is that once his death is announced there could be a Kremlin coup and Russian generals will want to withdraw from Ukraine.
“Putin’s death will leave them powerless and vulnerable so they have a vested interest in saying that Putin is alive – when the reverse could be true.”
It comes after months of intense speculation that the Russian President is seriously ill or dying amid his brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Putin has been seen looking bloated and shaking during recent appearances.
He fuelled speculation over his health by covering his legs with a blanket at Victory Day celebrations in Moscow earlier this month.
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The Russian leader was seen with a blanket over his lap at a military parade in stark contrast to the strongman image he has tried to project in the past.
Journalist John Sweeney, who was reporting from Ukraine at the time, tweeted: “Vladimir Putin – a blanket on his knees, his cheeks full, a hamster stuffed with steroids – cuts a weak and enfeebled figure as Russian Army rolls past the Kremlin.
“No declaration of big war; no call-up; no General Gerasimov. Listen: you can hear the knives being sharpened.”
Meanwhile, former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt said Putin looked “puffy” and did not appear to be “moving freely”.
Lord Dannatt told Sky News: “I was really just commenting on how President Putin looked.
“He doesn’t seem to be moving as freely and as easily as one has seen him do to in the past.
“I think we’ve all commented that, actually, he looked pretty puffy around the face.
“I don’t know how well or how unwell he is, there’s people circulating rumours he’s got cancer of some sort. I don’t know.
“But if he goes under a bus, metaphorically or realistically, will the replacement be more any better?”
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