KEY POINTS

  • Steele said Putin's illness was 'an element' in the invasion of Ukraine
  • Steele said Putin's illness will unlikely stop the war as only a few people are prepared to stand against the Russian leader
  • Steele was the author of an intelligence dossier that alleged the existence of Trump's 'pee tape'

A former British spy who wrote a discredited dossier on former President Donald Trump has confirmed reports about Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s health but added that it will unlikely lead to the end of the war.

Speaking with Sky News on Sunday, Christopher Steele said his sources had told him that the 69-year-old Russian leader is "seriously ill." However, the former British spy noted that it is unclear exactly what illness Putin is suffering from. 

"Certainly, from what we're hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere, is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill," Steele said in the interview. "It's not clear exactly what this illness is - whether it's incurable or terminal, or whatever."

Steele added that Putin’s illness was "an element" in the invasion of Ukraine, but said it will unlikely have any impact on the Russian leader’s approach to the war as only a few people are prepared to stand up against him. 

"I do think though that there are dissident voices, discordant voices, people telling him this is a disastrous war, that, particularly on the economy, will not play out well for Russia, and we can only hope that that will lead to some kind of change of policy, or even change in regime in due course, but it's certainly not a given," he added.

Steele is known as the author of an intelligence dossier that made several allegations against Trump, including the existence of a "pee tape." The video allegedly showed Trump watching two prostitutes peeing on a bed in the presidential suite at Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The Obamas allegedly slept in the bed before Trump had been elected as the U.S. president. 

The "pee tape" was reportedly filmed by FSB agents, Russia’s main state security agency and successor to the KGB. So far, officials have yet to find evidence that the tape exists.

Steele’s comments about Putin’s health come after Ukrainian intelligence official Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said a military coup to overthrow Putin is already in motion in Russia amid rumors about the leader’s failing health. 

In addition, a Russian oligarch was allegedly secretly recorded saying Putin was suffering from "blood cancer." The oligarch also claimed Putin had undergone back surgery in October, adding that it was linked to his cancer. The International Business Times could not independently verify the claim. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin is rumored to be suffering from blood cancer and Parkinson's disease Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images