Vladimir Putin is ‘mortally wounded’ and his fight to stay in energy has only just begun

Britain should prepare for a sudden collapse of Vladimir Putin’s regime, authorities warn, amid fears the “mortally wounded” despot could carry out a “Stalinist” purge to conserve energy.

Western officers warned that Putin’s grip on Russia was crumbling amid questions about his whereabouts after the attempted coup by Wagner’s mercenaries led by his former ally Yevgeny Prigozhin.

A senior UK government source told The Times that Britain “needs to prepare for a range of scenarios” and that “this could be the first chapter of something new”.

Meanwhile, the chair of the International Affairs Select Committee, Alicia Cairns, warned that Putin could start a purge to survive as his propagandists furiously wonder why the march on Moscow was allowed to go as far as it did.

The senior Tory MP also suggested that Russian intelligence services may have hidden the coup from Putin as it emerged that Britain and the US each had information that Prigozhin had been building up troops close to the Russia-Ukraine border for days.

Western officers warned his grip on Russia was crumbling amid questions about his whereabouts after the attempted coup

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed the whirlwind 24-hour uprising led by renegade Russian army chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and confirmed “real cracks” in Putin’s grip on energy.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed the whirlwind 24-hour uprising led by renegade Russian army chief Yevgeny Prigozhin (pictured) and confirmed “real cracks” in Putin’s grip on energy.

The Russian president has not been seen since he delivered an emergency message asking Russians not to take part in Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed coup (pictured)

The blind Russian military had to rush to defend Moscow, while Prigozhin’s soldiers entered the Russian metropolis of Rostov-on-Don without opposition and exceeded 200 kilometers from the capital.

Ms Kearns said yesterday that British authorities had been identified for several days.

US sources said congressional leaders were additionally briefed on Wagner’s appearance last week, contradicting Prigozhin’s statement that his elevation was in response to Friday’s Russian military attack on his camps in Ukraine. military.

“I think our government knew for a few days that something was coming,” she mentioned.

“That means Russian intelligence must have had an idea. Did Russian intelligence not believe he was capable of going to Moscow, or did they lie to Putin because they were afraid of him?

On Saturday, Prigozhin, the ruthless leader of the 25,000-strong mercenary group, was hailed as a hero after he sensationally abandoned his group’s march on Moscow at the 11th hour.

In a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin agreed to withdraw the advance in exchange for dropping criminal charges against him and his followers, with the added incentive of paying a multimillion-dollar exile payment.

Soldiers of the PMC Wagner Group withdraw from the center of Rostov-on-Don and return to their bases on Saturday evening

But there are signs that Putin’s fight for survival is far from over. Cairns said the door was open for others to challenge the Russian leader: “It’s certainly not over,” she said. “This is not just a power struggle between Putin and Prigozhin. This has raised questions about the overall stability of the country.

“No one believes that Prigozhin will go to Belarus and peacefully spend his life there. Putin… is mortally wounded, but I don’t think anyone can say that Putin is finished. Nothing hates Putin more than a traitor.

Yevgeny Prigozhin was cheered for the last time by local residents of Rostov-on-Don after his troops stormed the Russian military headquarters there.

The opening followed a day of exciting drama:

Putin-linked planes returned to Moscow yesterday after fleeing the city on Saturday.

In Ukraine, the jubilant troops achieved considerable success on the battlefield, as Putin was able to remove both his defense minister and his chief of general staff as the price for stopping the coup.

Wagner’s forces claimed to have shot down Russian helicopters and a military aircraft, reportedly killing 39 pilots and crew, the highest daily air force loss of the war.

Prigozhin’s whereabouts were unknown last night, and there is no indication that he has arrived safely in Belarus. Prigozhin’s spokesman told Russian broadcaster RTVI that he was “out of touch”.

This came as Mr Blinken mentioned that he did not think we had seen the last of the Wagner-Putin rebellion. “Sixteen months ago, Russian troops were on the doorstep of Kiev, Ukraine, thinking they would take the city within days, thinking they would wipe Ukraine off the map as an independent country,” he told CBS.

He added: “Prygozhin himself has raised deep questions throughout this whole incident about the premise of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, first by saying that Ukraine or NATO is not a threat to Russia, which is part of Putin’s narrative. And it was a direct challenge to Putin’s authority. So it raises deep questions, it shows real cracks.

Western leaders have expressed concern about unrest in Russia, which has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the whirlwind 24-hour coup led by Yevgeny Prigozhin had exposed “real cracks” in Putin’s grip on power.

Daniel Hoffman, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, suggested {that a rogue Russian boss could steal a nuclear warhead if Putin’s energy grip tightens.

Putin has not been seen since he gave a pre-recorded speech on Saturday in which he said he was “confident” his soldiers would see through their plans for a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Two planes linked to the president left Moscow on Saturday but have since returned to the city in response to reports from Flightradar24. It is unclear whether or not he was on board.

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