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Vladimir Putin has been accused of “withdrawing from the war” in Ukraine amid this week’s counter-offensive. Russian nationalist and pro-war military blogger Igor Girkin used his platform on Telegram to criticise the Kremlin leader. This comes as Ukraine has secured a major breakthrough within just 48 hours of its long-awaited counter-offensive.
Earlier today, the British Ministry of Defence confirmed that Ukraine had already penetrated Russia’s first line of defence in several places.
The counter-offensive has sparked unease about Russian hardliners, including Girkin, also known as Strelkov, who was a former commander of separatist forces in Ukraine’s eastern region.
He issued a scathing rant to his followers this week, saying: “Based on Putin’s behavior, the question that I have is, is there Putin at all?
“How is it possible, the supreme commander-in-chief withdrew himself from the war?”
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Girkin continued: “People from his inner circle are openly fighting among themselves and undermining the stability of the front with their actions, but he does not react in any way.
“And where is he anyway?
“[Kremlin spokesman Dmitry] Peskov says that something is being reported to him.
“Well, you can also report to mummies.”
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He suggested that President Putin was absent from major war decisions, adding: “A mummy lies. The mummy is silent. The outcome is clear.
“This is what the behavior of the supreme commander-in-chief looks like in our country.”
Girkin’s latest outburst was shared on social media by Ukrainian internal affairs adviser, Anton Gerashchenko.
George Beebe, former director of Russia analysis at the CIA, told Insider this week that President Putin could face a coup if the Ukrainian counter-offensive succeeds.
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Mr Beebe said: “He’s under greater pressure than he’s been in ever since he first took power.
“He is in a difficult situation politically.
“If it is becoming quite clear that the Russians are losing or have lost, then I think we’re looking at a very likely a period of real political turmoil inside Russia.
“I think Putin will be vulnerable under those circumstances.”
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