More On: Putin
VLADIMIR Putin is due to undergo cancer treatment and will pass over control to his hardline intelligence director, according to a Kremlin insider.
The health of the Russian tyrant has been the subject of much conjecture, with allegations suggesting he is suffering from both stomach cancer and Parkinson's disease.
However, it has now been rumoured that 69-year-old Putin may be about to undergo surgery, with power being transferred to Nikolai Patrushev.
Patrushev, 70, is widely regarded as a key architect of Ukraine's war plan and the guy who persuaded Putin that Kyiv was swamped in neo-Nazis.
The assertion was made by Russian news outlet General SVR, which has been raising questions about Putin's health for the past 18 months.
"Putin has discussed that he will be undergoing medical operations," they quote an unknown former high-ranking Kremlin military member as stating.
"Doctors insist that he requires an operation, but the date has not yet been established," says the person, whose voice appears to be disguised in the video.
"He'll have surgery while he's unconscious," he says, adding that he "hopes it'll just be for a short period."
The pick of spymaster Patrushev, according to the source, was the "worst option" following a two-hour "heart to heart" with Putin.
He went on to say that Putin's health issues might get worse.
"What if Putin develops really significant health difficulties all of a sudden?" he wondered.
"We are well aware that he suffers from cancer and Parkinson's disease, as we have stated numerous times.
"It was feasible to keep it under control for a while, but the disease is now progressing."
Putin's specific hospitalization date is unknown, but it is unlikely to be before May 9, when he will preside over the spectacular Red Victory Day commemoration of Hitler's defeat.
Putin could use the day to declare the mobilization of his reserves for a last push in Ukraine, according to UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
He said on LBC: "He'll most likely say... that we're at war with the world's Nazis and that we need to mobilize the Russian people in large numbers.
"Putin, who has failed to achieve nearly all of his goals, may want to solidify what he has...and become a malignant tumor within the country."
It comes as military leaders have encouraged Putin to abandon the name "special operation" for the invasion and declare war on Ukraine, allowing Russian troops to be mass mobilized.
An all-out conflict would allow Moscow to enlist more conscripts, institute martial law, and court international assistance from allies like Belarus.
A source close to Russian military chiefs told The Telegraph: "The military are outraged that the blitz on Kyiv failed.
“People in the army are seeking payback for failures of the past, and they want to go further in Ukraine."