Vladimir Putin is receiving treatment for cancer and his top generals are looking to ‘throw’ the war in Ukraine as he does, according to a rumour contained in a leaked American intelligence document.
In what appears to be the gravest leak of US secrets in years, the documents – which leaked last week and have prompted a national security investigation in the US – are understood to have come from inside the Pentagon.
Revelations in the leaks include previously unreported sensitive disclosures about Ukraine, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and others. The leaks about Ukraine in particular are of concern, as they could provide information to Russia.
Along with detailed information about troop movements and losses on both sides fighting in Ukraine, the trove also contains daily intelligence briefings – a collection of short updates from a variety of sources from around the world.
One of these briefings, the leaks appear to show, contained a rumour that said that Russia’s top general is conspiring to ‘throw’ (deliberately lose) the war in Ukraine while Putin is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Vladimir Putin is receiving treatment for cancer and his top generals are looking to ‘throw’ the war in Ukraine as he does, according to a rumour contained in a leaked American intelligence document. Pictured: The Russian leader is seen in Moscow on April 13
One leaked US intelligence briefing (pictured) appears to contain a rumour that said that Russia’s top general is conspiring to ‘throw’ (deliberately lose) the war in Ukraine while Putin is undergoing chemotherapy treatment
The claim suggests Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov are behind the plot.
Pictures of this part of the documents have been shared online along with many of the other 53-pages included in the leak.
It says that the plot – uncovered by Ukraine – is ‘presumably in an attempt to sabotage Russian President Vladimir Putin’.
‘Ukraine Learns of Alleged Russian Plot to ‘Throw’ So-Called Special Military Operation By 5 March,’ says the title of the intelligence update.
Small parts of the update have been redacted, but it does include a string of coded of letters along the top that signify its security classification.
These are ‘(TS//SI//REL TO USA, FVEY/FISA)’ – which shows that the document is top secret and was collected by monitoring communications (SI) – and can only be released to people with necessary security clearance in the USA or the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the US).
The text says: ‘[Redacted] 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 who received the 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.
‘According to source, the plan for ‘the offensive’ (no further information) was suspected to be a strategy devised by Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov to sabotage presumably Putin.
‘According to source, Gerasimov opposed the offensive; he informed Putin that the Ukrainian Armed Force’ capabilities were superior to Russia’s and cautioned that Russia would suffer heavy casualties were it to proceed with the offensive.
‘[Redacted] on 22 February indicated that 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 Mach, when Putin was allegedly scheduled to start a round of chemotherapy, and would thus be able to influence the war effort.’
MailOnline was unable to confirm the veracity of the rumours included in the supposed intelligence leak, but the documents attribute the origin of the rumour to a Ukrainian official who has their own source inside the Kremlin.
While there is no indication in the documents that the rumour is true, it does show that at some point, a US spy agency monitoring communications in the country heard the rumour and determined it to be worth flagging to the Pentagon.
The claim suggests Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov (pictured) are behind the plot
The claim suggests Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev (pictured) and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov are behind the plot.
Pictured: Putin (left) speaks with the CEO of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Yuri Borisov (right). Putin is seen gripping the arm of his chair
Rumours about the Russian president’s declining health, mental state and unstable position have swirled since long before he ordered the invasion in February 2022.
He has been seen gripping the edge of a table for support as he hunched in his chair during several meetings with officials at the Kremlin – a far cry from the barrel-chested hunter state media makes him out to be.
Other clips of him on diplomatic visits have shown the despot squirming as he sat, his legs and feet seemingly twitching and gyrating uncontrollably.
On one visit to a war monument in July, he was seen sweating and stumbling on unsteady legs as he attempted to swat mosquitos away from his head with one arm while the other hung limply by his side. In another visit to a war memorial, he also appeared unsteady as he knelt down to lay flowers.
And he has been unable to hide a constant cough which has plagued many of his recent speeches and addresses.
Some have even suggested that Putin has had plastic surgery, while Ukraine’s military chiefs said in October last year that he uses body doubles so he can avoid long trips – or mitigate the risk of being assassinated.
These factors have precipitated claims from a host of sources – including exiled Russians, ‘insider’ Telegram channels and even Ukrainian intelligence chiefs – that he is battling severe health conditions, including Parkinson’s and cancer.
Commentators have also questioned his mental state, with author Ian McEwan describing him as ‘a deranged and unpredictable adversary’. Others have called him ‘crazy’ or suggested he is taking anabolic steroids.
With his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian leader has sent thousands to their deaths. Several other high-profile military figures have – indirectly at least – questioned his leadership. This, some have said, is bound to take its toll on anyone.
Adding further to these rumours, a picture of Putin meeting a Russian official on Wednesday showed the Russian leader holding on to the arm of his chair.
His grip appeared to be so tight that veins could be seen on the back of his hand.
But others have argued he is not mentally unwell, just evil.
The pictures of the sensitive documents were posted to the instant messaging platform Discord, as well as online messaging board 4Chan, the Telegram global messaging app, and Twitter.
The photographs show paper documents creased by folding. U.S. defense officials say information on some of the papers has been altered.
The documents show real-time details from February and March of Ukraine’s and Russia’s battlefield positions and precise numbers of battlefield gear lost and newly flowing into Ukraine from its allies.
They also reveal just how close Ukraine’s vital air defense systems are to running out of missiles – with stocks expected to be exhausted as soon as late this month or May, absent significant resupply.
That would open Ukraine’s skies to more of the Russian air and artillery strikes that already have devastated cities and infrastructure.
Despite this, Ukraine’s leaders have said they don’t see the major intelligence leak as gravely damaging future offensives.
A key reason: They have long held back on sharing their most sensitive operational information, doubting Washington’s ability to keep their secrets safe.
Ukrainian and US officials said this week that only Ukrainians know some battle plans and other operational information, not the Americans, their most important ally.
That means the leak of secret military documents, including some assessing Ukraine’s battlefield strengths and weaknesses against Russia, may not have been enough – so far – to change the course of the war.
‘If military operations are planned, then only a very narrow circle of people know about the planning of the special operation,’ Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Wednesday on Ukrainian television.
‘The risk of leaks is very minimal’ for the most important war matters.
Nevertheless, Ukraine has had to deny a CNN report that said Kyiv’s generals have been forced to change their plans on account of the leaks.
Ukrainian servicemen drive towards the frontline during heavy fighting at the frontline of Bakhmut and Chasiv Yar, in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, April 12, 2023
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is thought to be working ‘around the clock’ to determine the scale of the damage caused by the huge breach of security.
And more damaging material could still surface. Leaked documents are continuing to appear online, and future revelations may be more detrimental to Ukraine than the ones that have been publicized so far.
Meanwhile, Russia is making clear that it is avidly studying each spilled secret. ‘Quite interesting,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the leaks.
Still, online Russian-language discussions groups showed Russian military bloggers arguing over whether the leaks themselves are U.S. disinformation, intended to mislead Russia by creating an impression that Ukraine’s military is vulnerable.
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