Ex-MI6 spy chief is sure Putin has Parkinsons and says his days are numbered

An ex-spy chief has poured yet more fuel on rumours that bloodthirsty Vladimir Putin may have launched his brutal invasion of Ukraine because he is on death's door.

Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has said Putin's "days are numbered" as he suspects the Russian dictator is suffering from one particular life-threatening illness.

It is said Putin is followed around by a team of doctors monitoring his health, with pictures and videos of his bloated face and trembling hands adding to speculation online.

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"My view is there is still something wrong with him, medically," said Dearlove.

"I'm not a clinician, but I know a number of people have watched him closely, and they think the most likely explanation is Parkinson's."

"There's no proof – but he shows quite a lot of the symptoms. If he does have Parkinson's, that can certainly impair your judgement.

"The two favourite medical diagnoses through observing him is either Parkinson's or blood cancer, or maybe both.

"But the Russians will be desperate to make sure Putin's health is a state secret."

In fact, Russian sources have disclaimed any illness for a long time. In May last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the idea that Putin was sick: "I don't think that sane people can see in this person signs of some kind of illness or ailment," said Lavrov.

"You can watch him on screens, read and listen to his speeches," he said via the Russian foreign ministry.

"I leave it to the conscience of those who spread such rumours despite daily opportunities to assess how anyone is looking."

Ukrainian sources often suggest the despotic leader is unwell. Last year the Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov said the Russian leader is suffering from several 'grave' illnesses.

Dearlove seems to agree, and said Putin could be "shuffled" off soon, out of the media eye.

"It's quite possible they just shuffle him off into a sanitorium and say he's unwell, and then he doesn't reappear," he explained.

"Talking to someone from central Europe who I regard as pretty well informed, he said you have the preconditions now for there to be a pretty sudden end to Putin's administration, or to Putin himself."

"It's impossible to say when that is going to happen. He's definitely in a very difficult place – there's no question about that.

"I think you have preconditions for his disappearance or collapse – which could be violent."

"Either he gets gently pushed aside and someone close to him takes over, or there's a major political upheaval and there's a real meltdown," he continued.

"I think both of those things are possible. Things are in a pretty bad state, and he's probably going to lose this war, or come out of it in a position where it looks like he's lost.

"He's got this so wrong, there must be a huge amount of opposition within the Kremlin. If it continues to go badly, I think Putin's days are numbered."

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