Vladimir Putin slams ‘treason’ from Wagner mercenary group
Vladimir Putin’s might have survived a mutiny orchestrated by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin against the Russian military at the weekend but his 23-year regime has been left “mortally wounded” say defence experts.
They say the president has been extremely “weakened” by the ordeal and that civil war is now “inevitable” for the Kremlin, with come intelligence reports highlighting how close Putin came to being forcefully removed from office, reports The Daily Express US.
Putin is thought to have fled Moscow following the attempted coup, even though Prigozhin has now been exiled to Belarus. Defence analyst Nicholas Drummond says the despot has been teetering on the edge of being forcefully removed from office.
He wrote on Twitter: “Western intelligence agencies are warning that Putin has been mortally wounded by Prigozhin’s aborted coup and that NATO must prepare for the collapse of Russia. It’s difficult to predict the likely timing, but civil war seems inevitable rather than possible.”
READ MORE: Charges dropped against Wagner chief Prigozhin after armed coup in Russia
The former British Army officer noted the government would need to “ramp up” defense spending in order to be as prepared as the rest of Europe and the US for potential conflict.
Drummond even warned a melee to secure control over Putin’s nuclear arsenal, to avoid sale to the black market, could follow shortly after the outbreak of Russian civil war.
He said: “We could see a humanitarian catastrophe unfold. Worse still, different factions vying for control of Russia’s nuclear stockpiles might force us to deploy ground forces to stabilise the region and prevent the wrong people gaining access to WMD.
“However likely or unlikely this scenario is, Britain needs to be prepared for the unexpected and we are not. We have had 12 months to ramp up our capabilities. But whereas our European partners have increased defense spending, we [are] contemplating further cuts.”
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On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Prigozhin had “created more cracks in the Russian facade”, and in the wake of the potential collapse of Putin’s regime, he claimed: “We always prepare for every contingency.”
On concerns over the security of nuclear weapons, the Secretary added: “We haven’t seen any change in Russia’s nuclear posture. There hasn’t been any change in ours. But it’s something we’re going to watch very, very carefully.”
On the subject of the diplomatic relations between Washington and Russia over the past few days, Blinken refused to offer details and did not specify whether Putin is currently in Moscow.
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The typically very public figure’s disappearance after the weekend has generated significant speculation.
While Putin’s private plane was spotted leaving Moscow, it is unconfirmed whether he was on board, and as transponders were turned off, the destination of the flight remains unknown.
Putin has not appeared in public since his speech on Saturday, raising eyebrows despite the reassurances from spokesman Dmitry Peskov that the Russian leader has not fled the Kremlin.
Stirring the pot of speculation, a pre-recorded interview was also broadcast on national television, which is believed to have been filmed days before the attempted coup.
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