Adding to the rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin is on death's door, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's chief of defense intelligence, said in an interview Wednesday that he has intelligence that the leader has terminal cancer.
"He has been sick for a long time," Budanov told ABC News. "I am sure he has cancer. I think he will die very quickly. I hope very soon."
When pressed about how he obtained the information, Budanov said it was human intelligence.
"We just know it — from people, from sources," he said.
Budanov believes Putin will die soon but not before a humiliating final defeat in Ukraine.
The spy chief said: "This war must end before his death ... We will win it in 2023."
He also said there will be a change of power in Russia after the death of Putin, who has ruled for more than two decades.
Budanov said: "We should not be afraid of its transformation, as it will benefit the whole world."
But others warned the future direction of the regime is far from certain, The Sun reported.
It depends on the outcome of a power struggle that has already begun in anticipation of Putin's exit, said Russian war analyst and former loyalist Igor Strelkov.
"The fight for the political Olympus has begun between the groupings that surround Putin," he said.
He added battle to replace Putin is raging to the extent that "even we can notice it."
Strelkov, a former colonel in the Federal Security Service (FSB) spy agency, was a key figure in Putin's annexation of Crimea and subjugation of the Donetsk region of Ukraine in 2014.
Names in the mix include Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private army, and loyalist forces in the defense ministry around weakened defense minister Sergei Shoigu and Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev.
Armchair diagnoses of the Russian leader have gained traction since he started the war on Feb. 24, as social media users and analysts try to interpret footage showing him apparently limping across Red Square, clinging to his desk and displaying a listless right arm.
Cold War historian Sergey Radchenko tweeted that he took spy chief Budanov's "claims with a pinch of salt as they are likely intended a psy-op" but added that his record of predictions "isn't bad all things considered, though this is partly a function of vagueness," Newsweek noted.
Budanov's comments come as the head of Russian analysis at Denmark's military intelligence service, identified only as Joakim, said in an interview with Copenhagen-based daily newspaper Berlingske that he did not believe Putin had a terminal illness. However, he said he had likely been given hormone treatment for cancer, which explained his "moon-shaped face."
However, Joakim did believe that Putin was in chronic pain following several falls and accidents.
"That's why he tends to sit and grab things tightly. It's to ease the pain," the intelligence officer said.
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