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‘Russian elite’ plotting to poison Putin and introduce chosen successor, Ukraine says

Ukraine: Putin agrees to meet President Zelensky for talks

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Moscow officials are said to be plotting to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin by poisoning him, a Ukrainian intelligence agency has claimed. According to the Chief Directorate of Intelligence in Kyiv’s Ministry of Defence, a “group of influential” members of the “elite” have devised a plan aimed at toppling the Russian President.

However, it has also been reported the group’s goals include removing Putin as soon as possible and attempting to restore economic ties with the West.

Kyiv’s intelligence brief also suggests insiders feel aggrieved by the impact of war on the Russian economy and the further damage of sanctions.

The UK recently announced they would add some 380 people to their sanction list.

Brexit Britain has since also introduced an additional 35 percent tariff.

But the Ukrainian intelligence service has said Putin’s successor has already been chosen.

FSB director Oleksandr Bortnikov has been tipped as the frontrunner.

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However, whether the intelligence claims from Kyiv are accurate remains to be seen.

The Chief Directorate of Intelligence said: “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.”

A source speaking to the Daily Mail added: “These rumours and suspicions within the Moscow inner-circle will sow the seeds of paranoia and doubt in the leadership.

“There is no doubt that as the Russian elite feel the pinch of sanctions that they will be looking at the future with an eye on what a catastrophe this war is for them – and it’s going to get worse.

“There is a significant suspicion that a small number of people might actually now try to get rid of the Russian President but whether they will succeed remains to be seen.

“Certainly they are being given an awful lot of encouragement by various influential figures in the west and the feeling amongst most people is that enough is enough.

“Crucially, although Ukraine has suffered immensely from this invasion it has wrong-footed Russia’s military at every step, predicting their military moves and crippling their forces.

“It is very possible that somebody has been leaking information and given every bit of encouragement to do so- perhaps with an offer of a future in the west or even in Russia itself.”

Both Putin and Bortnikov served for the KGB in Leningrad.

However, the plot is believed to have been influenced by the losses sustained by Chechen forces.

Despite being a frontrunner, Bortnikov has also reportedly faced criticism following Russian blunders in the Ukraine war.

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Putin responded to military concerns by sacking eight generals and is reported to have fallen out with his special service chief.

One Ukrainian intelligence source said: “It is noteworthy that Bortnikov has recently been disgraced by the Russian dictator.

“The official reason for the disgrace of the FSB leader – fatal miscalculations in the war against Ukraine.

“Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analysing the mood of Ukraine and the ability of the Ukrainian army.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly survived several assassination plots by Russian operatives.

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