Top-ranking Russian officials are said to be plotting a government without Vladimir Putin (pictured) after Kremlin sources claimed the Russian President has turned almost everybody against him amid the invasion of Ukraine
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Top-ranking Russian officials are said to be plotting a government without Vladimir Putin after Kremlin sources claimed the Russian President has turned almost everybody against him amid the invasion of Ukraine.

Three months to the day since Russian tanks first rolled across the Ukrainian border, a government source told Russian-Latvian outlet Meduza ‘there are almost no people who are satisfied with Putin’ among Kremlin officials and Russian elites.

‘Businessmen and many members of the government are unhappy that the president started the war without thinking about the scale of the sanctions – it is impossible to live with such sanctions,’ the source said – a sentiment which was later corroborated by two other government insiders.

‘The problems [in Russia due to the war] are already visible, and by midsummer they will come from different directions: transport, medicine, even agriculture. No one simply thought of such a scale,’ Meduza’s interlocutor close to the government explained.

The revelation comes as Kyiv’s spy chief claimed yesterday that Putin had escaped an assassination attempt around one month into the war, and declared the Russian leader’s isolation is a preventative measure borne from a deep mistrust of his subordinates.

Russia’s three-month long invasion, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, has seen over 6.5 million people flee abroad, turned entire cities into rubble, and prompted the unprecedented imposition of Western sanctions on Russia. 

Top-ranking Russian officials are said to be plotting a government without Vladimir Putin (pictured) after Kremlin sources claimed the Russian President has turned almost everybody against him amid the invasion of Ukraine

Top-ranking Russian officials are said to be plotting a government without Vladimir Putin (pictured) after Kremlin sources claimed the Russian President has turned almost everybody against him amid the invasion of Ukraine

'There are almost no people who are satisfied with Putin' among Kremlin officials and Russian elites, according to government sources cited by Meduza (Putin is pictured speaking with members of the Security Council last week)

‘There are almost no people who are satisfied with Putin’ among Kremlin officials and Russian elites, according to government sources cited by Meduza (Putin is pictured speaking with members of the Security Council last week)

Maksym, 3, is photographed with his brother, Dmytro, 16, on top of a destroyed Russian tank, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, May 8, 2022. Three months after it invaded Ukraine hoping to overtake the country in a blitz, Russia has bogged down in what increasingly looks like a war of attrition with no end in sight

Maksym, 3, is photographed with his brother, Dmytro, 16, on top of a destroyed Russian tank, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, May 8, 2022. Three months after it invaded Ukraine hoping to overtake the country in a blitz, Russia has bogged down in what increasingly looks like a war of attrition with no end in sight

Ukraine's military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov said he fears the Russian leader still has a 'few more years' left in him, but claimed Putin had escaped an assassination attempt and is wary of being deposed

Ukraine’s military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov said he fears the Russian leader still has a ‘few more years’ left in him, but claimed Putin had escaped an assassination attempt and is wary of being deposed

A veteran Russian diplomat to the UN office in Geneva resigned yesterday over what he described as Putin’s ‘intolerable’ invasion of Ukraine, and lent further credence to Meduza’s claims in saying many Russian diplomats do not support the war.

Boris Bondarev, 41, resigned on Monday morning after 20 years in the diplomatic service before sending a letter to 40 diplomats in which he said he had never been ‘so ashamed of my country’.

In the letter, he condemned ‘the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world’ – and supported Meduza’s claims that high-ranking government officials in Russia are disapproving of the war.

‘It is intolerable what my government is doing now… not all Russian diplomats are warmongering. They are reasonable, but they have to keep their mouths shut,’ Bondarev claimed.

‘[The invasion] is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia… it is crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country’.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shrugged of Bondarev’s departure however, declaring the diplomat is ‘against us’ and that the ‘actions of the Russian leadership are supported by almost the entire population. 

Even Russian elites who are in favour of the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine share the discontent of their peace-seeking compatriots.

Meduza claimed that high-ranking officials in Russia’s security services FSB and GRU – referred to as ‘hawks’ – believe Putin has botched the invasion and want to seize control of the operation.

‘The hawks are not satisfied with the pace of the ‘special operation’. They think they can act more decisively,’ a source said.

Putin reportedly removed the FSB – Russia’s domestic security agency – as the lead organisation responsible for intelligence gathering in Ukraine after early setbacks, and replaced it with military intelligence agency GRU.

But the Russian President has seized control of the military operation, personally handing orders out to generals and struggling to delegate responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the head of the main intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s ministry of defence declared yesterday Putin is cutting himself off from close contact with his subordinates to avoid any assassination attempts.

‘Looking at some of his manic syndromes, he is afraid to seriously prepare a successor, realising that in preparation, this successor may want to take the chair a little earlier than Putin himself wants,’ Major General Kyrylo Budanov told Ukrainskaya Pravda.

The resignation of Russian diplomat Bondarev amounts to a rare - if not unprecedented - public admission of disgruntlement about Russia's war in Ukraine among the Russian diplomatic corps

The resignation of Russian diplomat Bondarev amounts to a rare – if not unprecedented – public admission of disgruntlement about Russia’s war in Ukraine among the Russian diplomatic corps

In the letter sent to diplomats, Bondarev condemned the 'the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world'

In the letter sent to diplomats, Bondarev condemned the ‘the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world’

Kyiv military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov declared yesterday Putin is cutting himself off from close contact with his subordinates to avoid any assassination attempts

Kyiv military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov declared yesterday Putin is cutting himself off from close contact with his subordinates to avoid any assassination attempts

‘Therefore, he keeps everyone at a certain distance. And he believes that he will rule forever. But it will not be so.’

He said: ‘Look at the history of any dictator of the 20th and 21st centuries. They all ended the same. In most cases, they died against their will.’

Budanov went on to claim the Russian leader had escaped an assassination attempt which took place roughly a month into the war.

‘There was even an assassination attempt on him, as they say, by representatives of the Caucasus not so long ago.

‘This is non-public information. Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really took place… It was about two months ago.

‘There was no public information about this event, but it happened.’

Top Russian officials are now doubling down on the information war in an attempt to further control the narrative as Putin’s forces fight a bloody battle in the east of Ukraine.

Russia’s parliament today passed a bill giving prosecutors powers to shut foreign media bureaus in Moscow if a Western country has been ‘unfriendly’ to Russian media.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has repeatedly scolded the West for preventing pro-Kremlin media such as the Sputnik news agency and RT television channel from operating by sanctioning the outlets

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has repeatedly scolded the West for preventing pro-Kremlin media such as the Sputnik news agency and RT television channel from operating by sanctioning the outlets

The bill needs to undergo two more readings, be reviewed by the upper house of parliament, and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

But journalists of any media organisation deemed to be an offender under the bill would have their foreign ministry accreditation withdrawn – meaning they could not work in Russia.

The new bill adds to the challenges facing foreign media after Russia in March adopted a law which penalised what it termed spreading ‘fake’ news about its army.

‘In the current geopolitical situation, the mass media has become an instrument of influence on the informational state of society,’ an explanatory note said. 

The bill was introduced by influential lawmakers, including Andrei Lugovoy, who was charged in absentia by British prosecutors for the 2006 poisoning murder of Alexander Litvinenko. 

Lugovoy, a former KGB bodyguard, has repeatedly denied the charges.

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