As Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine continues, many have speculated over how secure his presidential position is likely to be with Russia feeling the bite of Western sanctions and global condemnation. In a social media post on Sunday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed “Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin”, adding the provocative tagline of “poisoning, sudden illness, accident”.

The post claimed that a circle of “influential people” sought to “restore economic ties with the West” by removing Putin “from power as soon as possible”.

It added that the war in Ukraine had “destroyed” these economic bonds crucial for Russia’s prosperity.

They also offered a prediction for Vladimir Putin’s potential successor – a close confidant of the current president.

They alleged Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov, who runs the Federal Security Service, would be the one who took the reins from President Putin.

Putin himself is a former intelligence officer for the KGB, and rose to the head of the FSB, which was formed from the KGB.

The Ukrainian Chief Directorate of Intelligence added that the FSB chief and the president had been at loggerheads over the invasion of Ukraine, with Putin laying the blame at Bortnikov’s door for “fatal miscalculations”.

They said: “Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analyzing the mood of the population of Ukraine and the capacity of the Ukrainian army.”

Bortnikov and his son, who is chairman of the state VTB Bank, were both slapped with Western sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Putin hit with betrayal as Belarusian troops turn on Russian war

He said: “The Russian military is not performing in the war in the way that most people expected, and it’s doing quite poorly overall.”

Dr Casey continued: “He’s spent a lot of time and effort designing the Russian security apparatus in a way that sort of makes him relatively invulnerable to coups.”

But, he added: “Things that have motivated coups in other places are present.”

But Dr Casey warned of the heavy price anyone involved in a coup would pay, should it prove unsuccessful.

He said: “If you mobilise against Putin and you fail, you’re looking at jail, exile, death.

“To move against him and fail is hugely costly for you and your family.”

This comes after US Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted a post that supported Putin’s removal from power.

The Republican senator wrote: “The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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