Putin ‘badly damaged’ by war in Ukraine and faces ‘losing power or death’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been “badly damaged” by the war in Ukraine and the coup attempt led by his former ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, it has been claimed.

Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies Matthew Sussex made the comments after Putin announced that he intends to run for “reelection” in Russia next year.

Speaking to Sky News Australia, Mr Sussex said: “He’s basically created a solution where he can’t be anything but the Russian President.

“If you have no one that you trust around you … then you’re going to be put in a position where you either die in office or are going to be removed.

“There’s plenty of discussion of Putin having been quite badly damaged by the war overall and the Wagner coup attempt.”

In August, Prigozhn was confirmed dead after he was among the people killed in a plane crash.

However, his death came after his private mercenaries, the Wagner Group, staged a rebellion against the Russian government amid tensions surrounding Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

It was because of this that many believed Putin was behind Prigozhin’s sudden death.

US President Joe Biden told reporters after the crash: “I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised. There’s not much that happens in Russia that Putin’s not behind.”

Putin claimed in October that Prigozhin’s plane crashed due to the detonation of hand grenades on the aircraft.

He also suggested the Wagner boss may have been on drugs.

Putin said: “Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash.

“There was no external impact on the plane – this is already an established fact.

“Unfortunately, no examination was carried out to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs in the blood of the victims.

“Although we know … that the FSB discovered not only 10bn roubles in cash, but also 5kg of cocaine.”

As Putin prepares for an election in 2024, concern remains over his biggest political opponent in Russia – Alexei Navalny.

Mr Navalny is serving a 30-year prison sentence after he was arrested when returning from Germany.

He had been in hospital in Berlin after being poisoned with a nerve agent.

Putin’s regime has long tried to silence Mr Navalny, who has now gone missing.

Mr Navalny’s close ally, Leonid Volkov, said on Telegram: “This is 0 percent coincidence and 100 percent manual steering from the Kremlin.

“Putin knows who his main opponent is at these ‘elections.’ And he wants to make sure Navalny’s voice is not heard.”

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