According to a Kremlin insider cited by Daily Mail’s report, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be forced to relinquish control of the Ukrainian war for a few days while undergoing cancer surgery, and will reportedly appoint hardline former FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev to take temporary command of the invasion while he is under the knife.
According to the Daily Mail, Patrushev, the 70-year-old incumbent Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, is seen as a key architect of the war strategy thus far, and the man who convinced Putin that Kiev is rife with neo-Nazis.
The extraordinary claims were made on the popular Telegram channel General SVR, whose source is said to be a well-placed figure in the Kremlin, according to the report.
“I don’t know for exactly how long (Putin will be incapacitated after the surgery)… I think it’ll be for a short time,” the insider source was quoted as saying.
Putin was “unlikely to agree to a transfer of power,” but he was willing to appoint a “charge d’affaires” to oversee Russia and the war effort.
“So, while Putin has the operation and comes to his senses, likely two or three days, the actual control of the country passes only to Patrushev,” the source added.
According to the Daily Mail, such a move would be surprising because, according to the Russian constitution, power should be vested solely in the Prime Minister.
Putin was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and Parkinson’s disease 18 months ago, according to General SVR.
He has reportedly postponed surgery, which will now take place after the Victory Day commemoration of Russia’s World War II victory in Red Square on May 9, according to the Daily Mail.
The news comes amid speculation that Putin will declare all-out war on Ukraine and order the mass mobilization of military-age men, posing a significant political risk.
The surgery was supposed to take place in the second half of April, but it was postponed, according to SVR.
“Putin was recommended to undergo surgery, the date of which is being discussed and agreed,” the outlet stated.
“There seems to be no particular urgency, but it cannot be delayed either.”
He also has “Parkinson’s disease and schizoaffective disorder,” which includes schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations and mania.
The Kremlin has always strongly denied Putin has medical problems and has portrayed him as being in good health, even though he has been mysteriously absent in recent years, according to the Daily Mail.
The outlet’s source, allegedly an anonymous former high-ranking Kremlin military figure, said in a video detailing General SVR’s claims: “Putin has discussed that he will be undergoing medical procedures.”