Russian President Vladimir Putin is “constantly accompanied” by doctors and often takes breaks during meetings to undergo treatment, a former British spy has said. According to Independent, Christopher Steele said Mr Putin's meetings are divided into sections so that he can take breaks.
He, however, added that "exact details" of Mr Putin's illness are not yet known.
The former spy wrote a dossier on Donald Trump and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election campaign and previously worked at the Russia desk at MI6.
Mr Steele's comments have been attributed to LBC Radio.
"Meetings of the security council that are shown to supposedly last for a whole hour are actually broken up into several sections... he goes out and receives some kind of medical treatment between those sections,” he said.
"And so clearly he is seriously ill, I mean how terminal or incurable it is is not clear... we can't be entirely sure. But it's certainly having a very serious impact on the governance of Russia at the moment," Mr Steele further said.
LBC Radio quoted Mr Steele as saying that Mr Putin is trying to avoid showing weakness in the Kremlin, which he described it as "a bit like a shark pool".
"The Russian Kremlin is a bit like a shark pool, they all swim round and if they smell blood in the water or taste blood in the water they start fighting," he said.
The latest remarks come amid mounting speculation around Russian President's health, with an unnamed oligarch reportedly recorded saying Putin is "very ill with blood cancer".
In a recording obtained by a US magazine New Lines, the unnamed oligarch was heard discussing Putin's health with a Western venture capitalist.
A report in Express said on Wednesday that Mr Putin recently underwent a surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen. The operation “went well and without complications”, the report further said, attributing the information to Telegram channel General SVR linked to Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service.