‘Cancer-hit’ Putin could be KILLED in coup as spy bosses ‘plot ousting’
VLADIMIR Putin could be killed in a coup over the shambolic Ukraine invasion as spy bosses turn on the weak and sickly tyrant, a former US general has warned.
Senior figures in the Russian army and security services have become increasingly frustrated with the tyrant’s handling of the deadly war.
But General Jack Keane said Putin will “do anything” to stay in power as he knows the alternative would be his “demise”.
The former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army told Fox News: “He’s all about staying in power. That’s his motivation. He will do anything to stay in power.
“The alternative, he knows full well, by a successor who doesn’t agree with him, could mean the end of him – his demise.
“He’s fighting to stay in power and he’s determined, I think, to still accomplish his goals even though his focus is in the south [of Ukraine].
“He still wants to take the country over, topple the regime – and I take Putin seriously. I think many of us discounted him for a number of years, but he is about returning to the Russian Empire.
“I think as long as he’s in power, he will be in pursuit of it.”
He added: “He has no future beyond him being the president of Russia. That’s a fact.”
It is thought Russia’s army generals want to be let off the leash to storm Ukraine – and even go to war with Nato after accusing the West of fighting a proxy war against Moscow via its support for Kyiv.
The powerful Russian “siloviki” – or security bloc – have reportedly blamed Putin for a “serious error” after retreating from the capital of Kyiv and concentrating on taking control of the Donbas in the east.
Russia had expected it could march across Ukraine without much of a fight – but in reality they have faced a valiant resistance.
Last month, Ukrainian troops pushed Russian forces out of Kyiv and managed to reoccupy towns and defensive positions up to 21 miles east of the capital in a major victory.
The Kremlin declared that the first stage of its campaign to “denazify and demilitarise” Ukraine was a success despite the retreat of Russian troops – and it’ll now focus its efforts on breakaway province Donetsk.
The mounting frustration from Russia’s top army and intelligence chiefs over the war also comes as rumours swirl around the state of Putin’s physical health.
A Kremlin insider reportedly claimed he is set to undergo an operation for cancer and will hand over power to his hardline spy chief.
It’s thought the Russian dictator could now face an uprising from his inner circle amid the unprecedented criticism and growing demand for “all-out war” and “mobilisation”.
New intelligence analysis suggested he could be ousted in a “palace coup” staged by his cronies within two years.
Russian security expert Andrei Soldatov told The Center for European Policy Analysis: “Does it matter? It matters a lot.
“This is the very first time the siloviki are putting distance between themselves and the president. Which opens up all sorts of possibilities.”
Putin is already bracing for a possible military coup after he purged 150 spies over the invasion of Ukraine.
The mad tyrant launched a “Stalinist” purge of his intelligence services – including sending spy chief Sergei Beseda to prison.
But the FSB is reportedly still pushing for hardline military action in Ukraine despite the jailing of its top boss.
And Alexander Arutyunov, a veteran Russian Spetsnaz officer, shared a video in pro-military groups pleading with Putin to escalate the war.
He said: “Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, please decide, are we fighting a war – or are we pleasuring ourselves?”
The ex-military intelligence commander said: “Strike them all over, completely destroy all their aerodromes.
“Turn them into Moon craters so that not a single plane with a Bayraktar [military drone] can take off.
“We must destroy all their railway lines with missiles of such big size that they spend years repairing them…
“If I understand it, why don’t your top guys get it? This is beyond me.”
Russia analyst Alexey Muraviev has previously warned that Putin faces a potential coup from within his military and intelligence services.
Mr Muraviev told Sky News Australia that the coup may come as they want to try and win the war – not to stop aggression in Ukraine.
He said: “I think that there have been tensions between Russia and the intelligence community and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“Because clearly, there’s been a clear error of judgment that was made and it was probably driven by Putin himself about the situation in Ukraine.
“About the initial planning and the initial phase of the invasion where the Russian military naturally assume that they’re going there as liberators rather than the invaders.
“I think that sort of false narrative was presented to them by the Supreme Commander in Chief, and when it fired back when the Russians began taking heavy casualties, Putin began quietly blaming the security services.
“Which I don’t think went really well also because he’s coming from within the security apparatus.”