Boris Johnson says Putin is ‘pretty desperate’
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Vladimir Putin’s inner circle understands that Russian forces “are not going to win in Ukraine” and are “questioning” their president, a Russia expert claims. Russian soldiers have endured a number of setbacks during the course of the conflict. In 2022, they failed to take the Ukrainian captial Kyiv before losing key territory near Kharkiv and Kherson.
Olga Lautman tells Express.co.uk that Putin is “losing control” and that Wagner Group boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, could try and replace Putin.
She said: “Putin humiliated Russia and the military because he showed the Russian military’s power was nothing but propaganda.
“Obviously the people around him have realised that there is a problem, and are at least privately questioning ‘where is he taking us?’
“They understand that they are not going to win in Ukraine. There is absolutely zero chance that Russia is going to conquer Ukraine.
“Every month that goes by and with every atrocity Russia commits, whether it is targeting buildings or civillians, they become more of a pariah.
“They understand that it is a dead end. We are basically watching the beginnings of a collapsed state.
“Putin held the country with that fear aspect, once you see that fear go away, clearly Prigozhin is now making an indirect challenge to Putin.
“Essentially, there is chaos. It shows that Putin is losing control.”
Prigozhin leads the Wagner Group, a private military firm that has helped Russian forces in Ukraine.
He has also earned the nickname ‘Putin’s chef’. Prigozhin’s catering company has previously supplied food at the Kremlin.
In recent months, Wagner troops have been fighting Ukrainians near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
But while Putin and Prigozhin are long-term allies, the Wagner boss has been critical of the Russian army.
He accused them of “treason” after alleging that Wagner troops were denied ammunition supplies. Wagner also said it had taken Bakhmut before the Russian defence ministry dismissed the claim.
Ms Lautman believes Prigozhin is building up his profile so that he can eventually make a bid for power in Moscow.
She said: “Over the last year, Prigozhin has become more public and taken on this populist role. He has basically been going after Putin’s inner circle, including the defence ministry.
EU court sides with Wagner chief’s mother over sanctions case [INSIGHT]
Putin driving wedge between Georgia and West as Ukraine crisis looms [ANALYSIS]
Wagner boss ‘wants Putin gone’ which leaves Russian leader ‘nervous’ [INSIGHT]
“I think he is trying to carve out a path for a power grab. Putin is stuck because he needs the Wagner mercenaries, and he needs the defence ministry. If he goes against Prigozhin, he knows that will cause an even bigger split.
“Prigozhin is also an expert at running the propaganda channels. With that, he has managed to create a very loyal following who all have zero issues calling for Putin to step down and shaking the whole system.
“He is doing it for a power grab, and I think eventually he will challenge Putin.”
However, she also predicts that Russian security services could try and kill Priozhin because of the way he has “challenged the system”.
The expert continued: “One aspect is the military dependency because they still need the cannon fodder in Donbas. But I honestly think Putin is nervous because if he challenges Prigozhin publicly, this will become a bigger rift.
“With Russia taking heavy losses and not making significant gains…Putin needs to be careful because challenging Prigozhin will lead to a very bad blowback from Prigozhin’s supporters.
“I think Prigozhin is still useful to Putin, but he crosses so many red lines that are unthinkable. When his usefulness is up, he will be gone. I don’t think he will be gone by just disappearing.
“The Kremlin will want to make sure it is extremely public to send a message that if anyone ever turns against the system again, this is the consequence. It will be one of the signature killings like Litvinenko for instance.”
Source: Read Full Article