Chris Lange, FISM News
A shocking new U.S. intelligence report states that Russian President Vladimir Putin underwent treatment for advanced cancer in April, according to an exclusive Newsweek report. The classified assessment follows months of speculation about the communist leader’s physical and mental health.
In the weeks leading up to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and beyond, rumors of Putin’s declining health and paranoia began to swirl following televised appearances in which he appeared to deliberately distance himself from Kremlin officials choosing to address them from across a mammoth conference room table.
Throughout April, Putin was largely absent from the spotlight. He reemerged for an April 21 meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, during which he appeared to slouch in his chair and frequently grip the table, according to multiple reports.
Western observers also noted that Putin looked bloated and unhealthy during his May 9 Victory Day address, leading to further speculation of declining health. Three days later, Ukraine’s head of intelligence Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov told a British News outlet that the Russian president was in a “very bad psychological and physical condition, and he is very sick.” Budanov also said plans were afoot inside the Kremlin to overthrow Putin.
A recent U.S. intel assessment confirms the Ukraine report, stating that Putin took part in “advance cancer treatment” in April and also reveals that an assassination attempt was made on Putin’s life in March. The confirmation of the content within the classified document comes from three, high-ranking intelligence officials who spoke with Newsweek on condition of anonymity after reviewing the report.
The CIA and foreign intelligence services had reportedly been aware of consistent reports of heated conflict among Russia’s national security ministries and that some Russian diplomats were planning to defect to the West.
“Someone once seen as omnipotent was now mostly seen as struggling with the future, his own in particular,” a Director of National Intelligence leader told Newsweek.
The officials who spoke to the news service said Putin has become increasingly paranoid about retaining his power, which makes him unpredictable but also reduces the prospect of a nuclear war.
“Putin’s grip is strong but no longer absolute,” a senior intelligence officer said. “The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near.”
The officials caution that assessments of Putin’s health should be viewed with some measure of skepticism, noting that the Russian leader’s isolation makes it difficult to accurately gauge his status and health.
“What we know is that there is an iceberg out there, albeit one covered in fog,” a Department of National Intelligence leader told Newsweek in an email communique on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
“One source of our best intelligence, which is contact with outsiders, largely dried up as a result of the Ukraine war,” a senior Defense Intelligence Agency official added, noting the rarity of Putin’s meetings with foreign leaders.
A retired Air Force official cautions that the U.S. should refrain from indulging in “wishful thinking” that a decline in Putin’s health could shorten the war or weaken his power. “We learned—or didn’t learn—that lesson the hard way with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein,” the official stated.