Putin calls the invasion of Ukraine a “special operation”.New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin is “seriously ill” and it is an “element” of what is happening in Ukraine, said a former British spy. “It’s not clear exactly what this illness is – whether it’s incurable or terminal, or whatever. But certainly, I think it’s part of the equation,” he said.Christopher Steele, who wrote a dossier on Donald Trump and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election campaign, told Sky News: “Certainly, from what we’re hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere, is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill.”Meanwhile, an oligarch with close ties to the Russian leader has reportedly been recorded as saying “Putin is very ill with blood cancer”.In a recording obtained by a US magazine New Lines, the unnamed oligarch was heard discussing Putin’s health with a Western venture capitalist.Speculations around the Russian President’s health intensified since the Ukraine war as the leaders appeared frail at public events including the Victory Day celebrations last week. In the photos and videos doing the on social media, Putin had a thick green cover draped over his legs as he sat among Second World War veterans and senior dignitaries to watch a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square.”The tough guy” #Putin is the only one who shows weakness during today’s parade and sits under a blanket and holds his hands! ????#RussiaWarCrimespic.twitter.com/nm2wI9BT0q— ???????????? ???????????????? ???????? ???????????? (@Top_dog_mindset) May 9, 2022Putin, in a black bomber jacket, was also spotted coughing and was the only person among his group who needed additional coverings to combat the the relatively mild 9-degree Celsius weather, reported the Independent.The Russian oligarch says in the recording that Putin had surgery on his back linked to his blood cancer shortly before ordering the invasion of Ukraine. The president has gone “crazy”, he adds.Recently, a video meeting between Putin and Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, showed him tightly clutching the table, not letting go for the entirety of the 12-minute clip.dictators can be brutalthey can be capriciousbut they can’t be weakserious problem for putin pic.twitter.com/OGFejK09i9— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 22, 2022″We all hope that Mr Putin dies. He absolutely ruined Russia’s economy, Ukraine’s economy and many other economies – ruined absolutely,” the oligarch says. “The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.”The name of the oligarch has been kept anonymous by the the western businessman as he recorded the conversation without his permission, reported New Lines maganize.A top Ukrainian military official has also claimed the Kremlin leader has cancer and other ailments. He told the Sky News that Putin is in a “very bad psychological and physical condition and he is very sick”.Russia’s invasion, which Putin calls a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has jolted European security. Kyiv and its Western allies say the fascism assertion is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.