Putin surrounded by gang of plotters trying to topple him, ex-NATO chief claims

Vladimir Putin is under threat from “hardmen” within the Kremlin after his disastrous Ukraine campaign, and the Russian leader could be planning to invade other countries just to “distract” his generals, a top military expert has said.

Putin has weakened his own position within Russia, says former NATO boss Sir James Everard, and he has weakened Russia’s position in the world.

The attack on Ukraine has made Finland and Sweden reconsider their neutral status and both countries are now reportedly considering joining NATO. Putin’s greatest fear was having NATO forces right on Russia’s borders – something he has now all but guaranteed.

That miscalculation will not play well within the Kremlin.

Sir James Everard, who served as NATO's Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told The Sun that a coup against Putin was increasingly likely.

He added that Putin might choose to make a move against another of Russia’s neighbours.

Although, he added: “If you ask people who know Russia about what's going to happen next, they effectively say it's in the mind of one person.

"Putin could escalate beyond his borders”.

  • Putin in 'impossible position' in Ukraine after devastating Russian losses

He said the current stalemate in Ukraine marked the beginning of “a long war for Ukraine and a new Cold War for NATO”.

Sir James added: "I think Putin is in trouble. Finland and Sweden want to join NATO.

"Ultimately he was trying to stop Nato expansion and that has failed. His only way out in Ukraine is to escalate."

But whatever decision Putin makes, he will need to make it soon because of the threat at home.

"Putin is in a terrible place,” says Sir James, “It was entirely of his own making.

"There are hardmen in Russia who would have removed him if they had lost Ukraine to NATO and the EU.

"He's acted and now the whole thing has gone badly wrong and he is vulnerable again and he is in trouble."

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