‘Irrational’ Putin set to ‘impose MARTIAL LAW in Russia’ amid all-out war fears
VLADIMIR Putin is set to impose martial law on his country if he can’t achieve his goals in Ukraine, US security commanders have warned.
The Russian leader may become more unpredictable as he ramps up the conflict in Ukraine, the US Senate has heard.
Speaking at a Senate hearing, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that Putin’s aims are greater than his country’s military capabilities.
That “likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory,” she said.
“The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military options to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives.”
Haines added that Putin could in the worst-case scenario order the use of a nuclear weapon if he believes Russia faces an “existential threat”.
It comes as pro-Kremlin news sources appear to have criticised the Russian leader’s brutal war in public for the first time.
The normally Putin-backing Lenta news website published several anti-war articles on Monday to coincide with the Victory Day Parade in Moscow.
Monday’s commemorations of the defeat by the Soviet Union and the allies of Nazi Germany was meant to be a dual celebration of victory in Ukraine, but instead, Russian troops remain bogged down and their advance is at a standstill.
In a move almost unheard of in Russia, the articles, which were taken down several hours later, accused the Russian leader of lying about the conflict in Ukraine and branded him a “pathetic, paranoid dictator”.
The two journalists behind the articles, Egor Polyakov and Alexandra Miroshnikova, told The Guardian that their actions were “the only right thing” to do.
Polyakov, a 30-year-old business reporter, said: “This is not what Victory Day is about. Ordinary people are dying, peaceful women and children are dying in Ukraine.
“Given the rhetoric that we have seen, this isn’t going to stop. We couldn’t accept this any longer.”
Their articles also exposed the alleged Russian war crimes in Mariupol, which have been almost completely unreported in the country, and accused their army of leaving behind the corpses of soldiers in Ukraine.
All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…
Other pieces accused Russia’s Ministry of Defence of lying to the relatives of those killed in the sinking of the flagship warship the Moskva, and said Putin has unleashed “one of the bloodiest wars of the 21st century”.
Another article reads: “Putin has to go. He has unleashed a senseless war and is leading Russia into the abyss.”
The 20 articles have since been taken down and replaced with pre-approved pro-Kremlin articles, but can still be accessed through web archives.
All of the articles contained a disclaimer saying they were “not approved by the leadership” and urged readers to “take a screenshot” before they were deleted.
Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military options
Avril HainesUS Director of National Intelligence
In a further sign that cracks are appearing in Putin’s wall of support, one of his slavishly devoted propagandists admitted that the Russian army is unable to push Ukrainian forces out of the east of the country.
Speaking from Donetsk in a video that was shared on social media, “war reporter” Aleksandr Sladkov said that Russian forces were making no progress in the Donbas.
He also branded Putin’s so-called special military operation “shamefully indecisive” and said the Russian army is “making a feat out of something that should be routine”.
Sladkov, a journalist for Russia’s state-run Russia-1 TV channel, has previously produced pro-Kremlin propaganda on deployment with Putin’s forces.
But Monday’s video marked a drastic change in tone and appeared to back up what senior US officials have been saying about the Russian strategy.
On Monday, a report from the Pentagon claimed that even some Russian officers are now disobeying military orders.
Russia currently has around 97 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, mostly in the east and south, each made up of around 1,000 troops.
A senior US official, speaking about the report, said Russia’s efforts to concentrate on taking over the Donbas have stalled in recent days.
Meanwhile, Putin’s triumphalist Victory Day Parade turned into a damp squib, with the 69-year-old leader looking frail under a blanket, while his troop numbers were scaled back massively due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In a humiliating update, it was revealed that the showpiece Victory Parade flypasts were cancelled after Russia lost an estimated 200 fighter jets in Ukraine.
It had originally been claimed that the flyovers were called off due to excessive turbulence over the skies of Moscow.
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