VLADIMIR Putin faces death in a coup d’état as Russian generals anger over his disastrous handling of the war in Ukraine.
The ailing autocrat could be incapacitated by his own security services in a death that could be hushed up simply as a result of his allegedly ill health — such as a heart attack.
And then Vlad could be replaced by an even more uncompromising leader who could send troops back to Kyiv, according to leading security expert Dr. Robert Thornton.
dr Thornton, a professor of conflict and security studies at King’s College London, told The Sun Online that Russian military generals are losing patience with their leader and want him gone.
“The FSB [Russia’s security service] think that Putin needs to be removed because he has gone soft on Ukraine,” he said.
“He has withdrawn from Kyiv. He is only now concentrating on Donbass.”
dr Thornton said Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is best positioned to remove Putin and could move in soon if they see troops losing ground in eastern Ukraine.
“They have the intelligence to do it,” he told The Sun Online.
“If you’re going to stage a palace coup, you want to keep it very secret and very quiet.
“They would get the GRU to do this and they have been given increasing powers in recent weeks.”
He said a small group of senior security officials could approach Putin with an ultimatum to leave office or be killed.
“Then you get people on TV to say that Putin is not well, and then you have a new leader,” the professor explained.
“You would make someone say, ‘Poor Mr. Putin had a heart attack from all the exertion of his special military operation, and we so-in-so put the blame on it’.”
The Russia expert said this isn’t too hard for Russians to believe since it happened in the 1970s with Leonid Brezhnev, a former Soviet leader, and other communist figureheads.
“They said ‘oh they were sick’ but really they were dead’.”
It comes as Putin comes under mounting pressure from his generals to dramatically reverse his disastrous military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia has now lost an estimated 30,000 troops, seen thousands of tanks and planes destroyed, and even lost its Black Sea flagship, the Moskva.
Burnt-out carcasses of Russian vehicles litter the Ukrainian countryside in so-called “tank cemeteries” — along with the bodies of thousands of Russian soldiers piled high.
Roughly 100 days into this conflict, Russia has still not achieved any of its key military objectives.
Exhausted and exhausted Russian forces were forced to withdraw from Kyiv in April.
And they had also lost ground in the Donbass, with Kharkiv being the last city “liberated” by Ukrainian troops.
It is this level of destruction and the “enormous casualties” that turn the hearts and minds of Russian officers against Putin, claims Dr. Thornton.
“The army cannot bleed so many people,” he said.
“It’s bleeding white. He’s running out of troops, he’s running out of missiles, he’s running out of everything.
“There will inevitably be morale issues in the army and leadership issues and people will ask why we are doing this.
“There’s bound to be a wave of junior officers and those in the lower ranks of the Russian army saying, ‘What are we doing this for?’ and this could seep up into the higher ranks.”
In the event of a coup, Russian generals would secretly withdraw their best units from the front lines and have them march towards Moscow, the professor said.
“They’re the best troops, that’s why they’re the most trusted troops, that’s why you tell them what to do and they will obey,” the former British infantryman said.
“Their movements would be picked up by satellites and signal traffic, and that would be a sure sign that something bad was happening for Putin.”
“Then there would be meetings of your officers, but they will keep it all very secret. The officers would have to do it very, very quietly as they don’t want to alert Putin supporters or tell anyone in the West about it.”
But the defense scientist warned that a coup would result in a worse outcome for Ukraine and the West.
“If you tell the military to stage a military coup, will they listen?
“And when we have a Putin to replace Putin, he will be replaced by someone tougher. Someone tougher than Putin in the Ukraine war.
He said Putin could be replaced by General Valery Gerasimov, who heads the Russian army, or ultranationalist Alexander Bortnikov, who heads the FSB.
“The Russians were told they were at war with the Nazis, so whoever takes over can’t suddenly say, ‘Oh, we give up. We are withdrawing from Ukraine.’
“That would be like saying, ‘Oh, we’ve been defeated by the Nazis,’ and no leader in Russia could live with that.”
He added: “I fear the use of tactical nuclear weapons to send a message from the Russian military that they are serious about Ukraine, so you could see a small town being hit by a nuclear missile.
“That could happen if the hardliners step in, or even if Putin stays, as they want to send a message in line with Russian Udar doctrine, which in Russian means massive shock. You would shock your enemy into surrendering and you win.”
There is no easy way out for Ukraine or for Russia, the professor said.
“How do you organize a peace agreement with those who think the Russians are Nazis and the Ukrainians for boys who act like Nazis? I don’t see a solution.
“Either way, Putin won’t be around much longer. Either he dies of natural causes or he is deposed in a coup. That’s how I see it.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5488479/putin-death-russian-generals-coup-war-in-ukraine/ Vladimir Putin could be secretly killed by angry Russian generals in a coup, with the death being covered up as a “heart attack”.