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Russian President Vladimir Putin may have officially worn out his welcome in his own nation.
Ukrainian intelligence believes that a group of Russian elites are allegedly conspiring to overthrow him and “restore economic ties” with the United States and other Western nations, The New York Post reported.
The Chief Directorate of Intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine made the claim in a post on Facebook on Sunday.
“Poisoning, sudden disease, accident – Russian elite considers the possibility of removing Putin.
“In the environment of the Russian business and political elite, a group of influential persons opposing Putin is formed,” a translation of the post said.
“Their goal is to remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, destroyed due to the war in Ukraine.
“A certain part of the Russian political elite of Russia considers as a successor to Putin – FSB director Oleksandr Bortnikov. It is a sign that it is Bortnikov recently got into nemilístʹ on the part of the Russian dictator. The official reason for the collapse of the head of the fsb – fatal calculations in the war against Ukraine,” it said.
Bortnikov and his department were responsible for the analysis of the attitudes of the Ukrainian population and the capacity of the Ukrainian army.
“It is known that Bortnikov and some other influential representatives of the Russian elite are considering various options to remove Putin from power. In particular, poisoning, sudden disease, or any other ‘coincidence’ is not excluded,” the Ministry of Defense said.
“It is not excluded that the recent ‘drain’ of the location of the Chechen units in northern Kiev is connected with these processes.
“Information came exactly from the Russian side. Probably so the FSB management is trying to weaken the influence of Kadyrov. Also, this may be an attempt to early improve interaction with Ukrainian authorities in the bypass of the current Russian leadership,” it said.
And friends of the Russian president’s girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, are begging her to convince him to end the war as she faces being removed from Switzerland, The New York Post’s Page Six reported.
“Alina’s female friends are begging her to fly to Putin and persuade him to end the war,” a source said. “He doesn’t seem to be listening to anybody, but perhaps he might listen to her.”
“Putin is surrounded by rings and rings of security. Alina says she doesn’t know if she can get to him — and even if she does, she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to get out again to be with their kids,” they said.
Page Six exclusively reported earlier this month that the Russian president has allegedly been hiding his lover and their kids in the once-neutral European nation.
Kabaeva, an Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, reportedly has four children — two young boys and twin girls — with Putin, 69, though the two never officially confirmed it.
The kids were allegedly born in Switzerland and all have Swiss passports, according to a source, who tells us Kabaeva, 38, is believed to hold passports under a number of different names and nationalities.
The news comes as the Ukrainian government has boldly rejected an ultimatum by the Russian government for its fighters to lay down their arms and allow Vladimir Putin’s forces to occupy the port city of Mariupol, which has essentially been surrounded and cut off from the rest of Ukraine for several days.
The decision to reject the ultimatum means that invading forces will likely continue bombarding the city and will not allow trapped civilians to escape through a corridor the Russian military creates.
On Sunday, “Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Defense Ministry’s National Defense Control Center, had said Kyiv must respond to Russia’s offer by 5 a.m. Moscow time on Monday, according to Interfax,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said, “All who lay down their arms are guaranteed safe passage out of Mariupol,” but it was not clear what would happen to them if they did not surrender.
But on Monday morning, Mizintsev’s offer was rejected.
“‘Ukraine rejects Russia’s demand to surrender Mariupol,’ the Ukrainian government said via Twitter early Monday. It cited the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying that turning over the city wasn’t an option and her demanding that Russia give civilians safe passage to exit,” the Journal reported.
“There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this,” she said.
“I wrote: ‘Instead of wasting time on eight pages of letters, just open the corridor,’” she added.
“What Russia is trying to get Ukraine to do is to get us to give up our right to freedom,” Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko said during an interview with NPR on Monday morning in response to the Russian ultimatum. “There’s nothing that Ukrainians value more than freedom. Life without freedom is no life for us.”