Russian coup against Putin already underway, says Ukrainian general

Russian coup against Putin already underway, says Ukrainian general

A senior Ukrainian military official said a coup d’état to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin was underway and could not be stopped.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov told UK broadcaster Sky News that if Russia lost the war in Ukraine, Putin would be deposed and his country would collapse.

“It will eventually lead to a leadership change in the Russian Federation,” Budanov told the outlet, “that process has already been initiated.”

When asked if he believed a coup was already underway, he replied “yes,” adding that “they are moving this way and it’s impossible to stop it.”

In the interview broadcast by Sky, Budanov provided no evidence of a coup. While there has been speculation as to whether the poor performance of Russian forces in Ukraine could hasten Putin’s ouster, experts question whether this is possible.

Russia’s Federal Protection Service (FSO), the main espionage agency, the FSB and the National Guard (Rosgwardia) serve to protect Putin.

However, speculation about Putin’s health is mounting, with a number of reports in recent weeks suggesting he may be seriously ill, potentially weakening his power.

In the Sky News interview, Budanov backed up these rumours, the latest of which include an unnamed oligarch telling a magazine that Putin was “severely ill with blood cancer”.

“We can confirm that Putin is in very bad mental and physical condition and he is very ill,” Budanov said, “he is very ill. He has several diseases at the same time, including cancer.”

The Kremlin, which Newsweek has contacted for comment, has repeatedly said Putin is in good health.

However, the Russian leader’s public appearances, during which he looked shaky, as well as his absence from a hockey game this week, which he normally attends, have added to the mystery surrounding his condition.

Budanov also said in the interview that he expects the war in Ukraine to end with a victory for the Kiev armed forces by the end of the year. He predicted that this “breaking point” in the conflict would take place in August.

“We will restore Ukrainian power in all our lost territories, including Donbass and Crimea,” he said in an expectedly optimistic assessment.

On Saturday, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov told the BBC the Russians had pulled out of Ukraine’s second city.

“The Russians kept shelling Kharkiv because they were very close to the city,” he said, adding that they were pushed back by the Kharkiv Territorial Defense and Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves Red Square after the Victory Day military parade May 9, 2022. Major General Kyrylo Budanov told Sky News on May 14, 2022 that a coup against Putin was underway.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

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