Putin’s inner circle ‘believe Ukraine war is lost and Russia faces coup’


Destroyed Russian tanks and military vehicles are left dumped in the town of Bucha (Picture: Reuters)

Vladimir Putin’s top security officials understand the war in Ukraine is ‘lost’, making the likelihood of a coup much more realistic, an analyst in Moscow says.

The chances of the Russian tyrant launching a nuclear strike are receding as it is likely people would refuse to carry out his order.

That’s according to expert and investigative journalist Christo Grozev, who suggests Putin is losing his grip on power.

He says leading officials are unlikely to obey Putin’s commands to launch nukes as they don’t trust he will still be in power in three months time.

‘I think that it is the informed elite within the security forces who understand that the war is lost,’ Grozev told Radio Liberty.

He said Putin’s inner circle understand the president would need a full mass mobilisation to win the war, but this would cause a ‘social explosion’ in Russia.

Some hardliners may pressure for use of nuclear or chemical weapons, Grozev warned.

But others will say ‘enough is enough’ and ‘it is better not to waste another 10,000 lives of our soldiers and officers’.

Grozev, lead Russia investigator for investigative journalist group Bellingcat, said one or more of the ‘five hands’ needed to launch Russia’s nukes could end up defying Putin.

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo
Vladimir Putin is less likely to order a nuclear strike if he doesn’t think his top officials will play along (Picture: Reuters)
IRPIN, UKRAINE - MAY 16: An aerial view of crosses, floral tributes and photographs of the victims of the battles for Irpin and Bucha that mark the graves in Irpin cemetery on May 16, 2022 in Irpin, Ukraine. As Russia concentrates its attack on the east and south of the country, residents of the Kyiv region are returning to assess the war's toll on their communities. The towns around the capital were heavily damaged following weeks of brutal war as Russia made its failed bid to take Kyiv. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A mass grave of victims killed in Irpin and Bucha lays bare the devastation inflicted in Ukraine (Picture: Getty Images)
A Russian military helicopter flies over buses with Ukrainian servicemen evacuated from the besieged Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant traveling to a prison in Olyonivka, territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. More than 260 fighters, some severely wounded, were pulled from a steel plant on Monday that is the last redoubt of Ukrainian fighters in the city and transported to two towns controlled by separatists, officials on both sides said. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)
A Russian military helicopter flies over buses carrying Ukrainian servicemen evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol (Picture: AP)

‘And this refusal will be the trigger, most likely, a coup d’état, because after the refusal to comply with the order of the king, everything will go down very quickly,’ he added.

‘If Putin decides to give an order to use nuclear weapons, he must be sure that everyone along the chain will carry out this order.’

If one person does not comply, Grozev says this will be a ‘signal of insubordination’ which could lead to the ‘death of Putin’.

‘So until he is sure that everyone will comply, he will not give this order,’ he added.

It is known that defence minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the defence staff Valery Gerasimov would both need to sanction a nuclear strike.

During the war, Putin has made a point of being seen in public with an official carrying the nuclear briefcase.

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CHERKSKA LOZOVA, UKRAINE - MAY 14: Ukrainian farm worker Misha walks past grain and pesticides in a warehouse destroyed by Russian tanks on May 14, 2022 in Cherkska Lozova, Ukraine. He said that Russian forces had destroyed the warehouse and farm equipment while occupying territory outside of Kharkiv. Ukrainian and Western officials say Russia is withdrawing forces around Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, suggesting it may redirect troops to Ukraine's southeast. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Ukrainian farm worker Misha gets to work in a warehouse destroyed by Russian tanks (Picture: Getty Images)

Defence ministry flights for Russia’s elite to a supposed command and control bunker near Ufa – 725 miles east of Moscow – have reduced since earlier in the war, according to Grozev.

The journalist said senior figures from the FSB security agency and the GRU military intelligence organisation are preparing for life after Putin.

He said the ‘FSB elite’ knows exactly how many Russian troops have died in Ukraine and knows that the loved ones of the dead or missing ‘do not stop asking questions’.

‘They know that this situation will eventually get out of hand,’ Grozev added.

‘These are those parts of the security forces who know the dangers for the regime, and they themselves are now preparing their future.

‘Some of them are looking for an opportunity to take their families out of Russia, all are looking for ways to transfer the accumulated money (corruption money in many cases) into dollars and euros.

‘This is already a kind of betrayal by these people, because they do not follow the ideological orders of the Kremlin, but are preparing for an alternative reality.’

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