According to a new report, U.S. intelligence is convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin underwent treatment for advanced cancer in April.
One intelligence officer told Newsweek, “The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near.”
The officer added that while Putin’s grip on power remains strong, it is “no longer absolute.”
As Newsweek reports:
Vladimir Putin’s health is a subject of intense conversation inside the Biden administration after the intelligence community produced its fourth comprehensive assessment at the end of May. The classified U.S. report says Putin seems to have re-emerged after undergoing treatment in April for advanced cancer, three U.S. intelligence leaders who have read the reports tell Newsweek.
The high-ranking officials, who represent three separate intelligence agencies, are concerned that Putin is increasingly paranoid about his hold on power, a status that makes for a rocky and unpredictable course in Ukraine. But it is one, they say, that also makes the prospects of nuclear war less likely.
All three officials—one from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, one a retired Air Force senior officer, and one from the Defense Intelligence Agency—caution that the Russian leader’s isolation makes it more difficult for U.S. intelligence to precisely assess Putin’s status and health.
Conversations with Russian assets inside the regime, considered the most reliable intelligence source, have dried up since Russia’s actions cut itself off from the outside world.
Publicly, the Russian government is attempting to dispel the speculation about its leader.
The retired Air Force officer interviewed by Newsweek cautiously noted, “We need to be mindful of the influence of wishful thinking. We learned — or didn’t learn — that lesson the hard way with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.”
So, what do you think? Is today’s news part of a disinformation campaign to encourage instability in Moscow, or do you believe U.S. intelligence has penetrated the Kremlin? As always, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!