Nikolai Patrushev
Russia's Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev SERGEI KARPUKHIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


  • The sabotage involved diverting resources from Taganrog to Mariupol
  • The planned sabotage was supposed to happen in March when Putin was scheduled for a chemotherapy
  • The document appeared to reference long-standing rumors that Putin is suffering from cancer

Russian officials were allegedly planning to sabotage President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine while the leader was undergoing chemotherapy, leaked Pentagon documents reveal.

The papers, which were leaked on Discord last week, also suggested that the sabotage was planned by Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov.

"[Ukraine] on 17 February learned of an alleged Russian plot to 'throw' the so-called 'special military operation,' presumably in an attempt to sabotage Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to [the source] who received information from an unidentified Russian source with access to Kremlin officials, Russia planned to divert resources from Taganrog, Russia to Mariupol, Ukraine and focus its attention on the Southern front," the document read, as published by Vice.

"Gerasimov reportedly planned to continue his efforts to sabotage the offensive, nothing that he promised to 'throw' the so-called special military operation by 5 March, when Putin was allegedly scheduled to start a round of chemotherapy and would thus be unable to influence the war effort," the document explained.

Apart from the planned sabotage, the document also referenced a long-standing rumor that Putin is suffering from cancer. The rumor is an old one, but it began spreading again after Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. In fact, Kyiv's spy chief Kyrylo Budanov previously claimed the Russian leader will "die very soon" from cancer. However, Putin himself dismissed the rumor in June of last year.

"Like Mark Twain once said: 'The rumors about my death were greatly exaggerated,'" he said.

It is unclear who leaked the Pentagon documents. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of government and military officials who have the security clearances to access the documents, per The New York Times, which first reported the leaks.

The U.S. is now conducting an interagency probe with the Pentagon's Office of Intelligence Security. The investigation will focus on whether any sources and methods were compromised due to the leak and examine how it impacted U.S. national security, three U.S. officials told CNN.

The probe will be led by Milancy Harris, the deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and security.

Investors are keeping a wary eye on Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to annex four occupied regions of the country