VLADIMIR Putin might already be dead with a body double taking his place at public appearances, MI6 chiefs have reportedly claimed.
British intelligence officials said the Russian tyrant’s cronies would have to keep his death a secret from the world for weeks – or even months.
Putin’s health has long been the source of speculation and Moscow has remained tight-lipped as over the past few years, insisting Vlad’s health is “excellent”.
But Western intelligence suggests the Russian president has serious health issues such as cancer and Parkinson’s – and recent public appearances have sparked further rumours about his physical state.
He has appeared less mobile and his face has been bloated, with experts believing is taking steroids or receiving cancer treatment.
Putin’s drastically changing appearance from strongman to sickly has aroused suspicions he is severely unwell.
An intelligence source said it was likely Putin’s recent appearances in public had been pre-recorded – and he could have already died with a body double taking his place.
The source told the Daily Star: “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 source added: “The real fear (for his cronies) 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.”
Two weeks ago, a Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin claimed Putin is “very ill with blood cancer” and had surgery before his shambolic invasion of Ukraine.
An MI6 agent said Putin’s rumoured health woes are now causing him to lose his grip on power in the Kremlin.
Christopher Steele claimed the Kremlin is in “increasing disarray and chaos”.
Steele, who previously worked the Russia desk at MI6, said Putin has to bow out of meetings to undergo treatment and that he was “constantly” being followed around with doctors.
But even when he is present, the renowned control freak provides “no clear political leadership”.
It was the Covid pandemic that really flagged up Putin’s possible health concerns.
According to The New York Times, Putin imposed strict quarantine measures on anyone who was due to see him in person.
Visitors were forced to isolate for two weeks before their scheduled meeting, before being drenched in disinfectant on the way.
The specially created tunnel would reportedly spray guests with a sterilising aerosol, while shining UV lights on guests to further sanitise them.
Putin’s health has also been subject to huge scrutiny in the wake of the war in Ukraine, and rumours continued to mount in the wake of a recent military parade when he was seen with a blanket over his legs.
An oncologist said Putin may be suffering from “chemo brain”, a cancer-related cognitive impairment brought on by treatment.
Source: The Sun