High-ranking Kremlin officials believe that the invasion of Ukraine has been “lost,” adding that the regime under the Russian President Vladimir Putin is reaching its final stretch as Putin is reportedly facing coup and cancer rumors.

A group of “informed elite” within the Russian security forces have concluded that there is no chance for Russia to win the war in Ukraine, according to Bellingcat chief investigator Christo Grozev. Bellingcat is a Netherlands-based investigative journalism publication that has also covered the developments in the Russo-Ukrainian War.

“I think that it is the informed elite within the security forces who understand that the war is lost,” Grozev said. He also mentioned that Putin would have to enact full mobilization for Moscow to stand a chance in the conflict. However, he noted that such a mandate would cause “a social explosion” in Russia.

Vladimir Putin with Defense Minister Gen. Shoigu (left) and Gen. Valery Gerasimov (Putin's left) (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Putin_in_National_Centre_for_management_of_defence_05.jpg
Vladimir Putin with Defense Minister Gen. Shoigu (left) and Gen. Valery Gerasimov (Putin’s left) (Kremlin.ruCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Even with conflicting figures, it is safe to assume that Putin’s offensive has cost the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers. The British Defense Ministry believes that the Kremlin has lost as much as a third of its invasion force after almost four months of continuous fighting. This implies that tens of thousands of soldiers have perished along with millions, if not billions of dollars worth of military equipment and vessels.

The devastating losses are creating a snowball effect on the performance of the Russian military, which has appeared to be losing momentum as the war drags on.

“These are those parts of the security forces who know the dangers for the regime, and they themselves are now preparing their future,” Grozev said. He noted that these security officials, who are aware of the true number of casualties, see Putin as losing his grip on Russia.

Grozev also mentioned that some officers within Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) and Main Directorate (GRU) are making preparations for an upcoming regime change.

“Some of them are looking for an opportunity to take their families out of Russia,” Grozev added.

An Impending Coup

Grozev cautioned that there are some hardliners within Putin’s inner circle that might push for the use of chemical or nuclear weapons. However, he mentioned that there will be others that will say “enough is enough” and that “it is better not to waste another 10,000 lives of our soldiers and officers.”

He noted that one or more of Putin’s “five hands” that are required to call a nuclear strike could end up standing up against the Russian president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celebrating_Victory_Day_and_the_70th_anniversary_of_Sevastopol%E2%80%99s_liberation_(2493-10).jpg
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov (Kremlin.ruCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

“And this refusal will be the trigger, most likely, a coup d’état because after the refusal to comply with the order of the king, everything will go down very quickly,” Grozev said. According to Grozev, this defiance will be the sign of insubordination that will ultimately spell the end of Putin’s regime.

“So until he is sure that everyone will comply, he will not give this order,” he added.

These conclusions echo that of Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov, who said that a coup to oust Putin is already in process.

“It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched, and they are moving into that way,” Budanov said.

The general is the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence unit. Budanov and his team correctly predicted the Russian offensive, while many in his government doubted the invasion.

Soviet REUnion: the Power Play Behind Putin’s Invasion of Crimea

Read Next: Soviet REUnion: the Power Play Behind Putin’s Invasion of Crimea

When asked if this meant that a coup was already in the works, Budanov replied: “Yes. They are moving in this way, and it is impossible to stop it.”

He also claimed that Putin is in “very bad psychological and physical condition.”

Cancer Ridden Putin

Sources have claimed that the Russian president is struggling with deteriorating personal health and that it has affected the quality of leadership inside the Kremlin, with many saying that he is suffering from cancer.

Award-winning director Oliver Stone revealed that Putin has been battling cancer for the past years. Stone was granted special access to the Russian president for two years while he was filming a series of interviews covering Russia and the leader.

Stone said that Putin suffered from cancer but thought he could overcome it. Such information was not known to the Russian public. Former British intelligence spy Christopher Steele said that Putin, who is now 69 years old, is losing control over Russia due to his faltering health, which has left the Kremlin in “increasing disarray and chaos.”

Steele noted that the Russian leader is forced to take frequent breaks to receive medical attention and that Moscow has had “no clear political leadership” in Putin’s absence.

Critics and Kremlin observers have indicated that Putin might be sick with Parkinson’s disease or cancer, which was reinforced by recent footage showing the president shaking uncontrollably and holding on to a desk for support.

“There’s no clear political leadership coming from Putin, who is increasingly ill, and in military terms, the structures of command and so on are not functioning as they should,” Steele said.

“What we do know is that he’s constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors,” he added.

Steele was unable to reveal his sources for safety reasons but noted that he was “fairly” confident” about the validity of their claims.

While Steele has a rather checkered past with regard to the discredited dossier he prepared on President Trump, the indications presented above have merit.  One motivation for replacing Putin not mentioned is self-preservation. Putin has sacked numerous members of the FSB and military for incompetence and those remaining would be blind to the handwriting already on the wall that Putin will blame them for the failure of Russian arms in Ukraine as a means of salvaging his own reputation in the country.  The army and the security service are political institutions themselves with entrenched interests that they would want to protect.  If it comes down to them falling on their swords for Putin, or replacing him, they might choose the later to avoid being put on trial themselves for incompetence.