Coup to overthrow Putin underway: Ukraine amid 'ill health' reports
A top Ukrainian defense official has stated that a coup to depose Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently underway and cannot be stopped. According to reports, Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov predicted the Russia-Ukraine war might turn around by mid-August and be over by the end of the year. He also stated if Russia lost the war, Putin would be ousted from power.
Why does this story matter?
The statement comes amid rumors about Putin's ill health since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, as he has reportedly appeared frail at various public events. According to reports, the president is either suffering from Parkinson's disease or blood cancer. Last week's Victory Day parade fuelled speculation over his health further after he was seen covering his legs with a blanket and spotted coughing.
Statement of Ukrainian Major General Budanov
Talking to SkyNews about the alleged coup to overthrow Putin, Budanov stated, "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." Asked if the coup was underway, the Ukrainian military official said, "Yes," adding, "They are moving in this way and it is impossible to stop it."
'If not me, who will know this?' asks Budanov
Budanov claimed Putin is also suffering from cancer and other illnesses. He said Putin is in "very bad psychological and physical condition and he is very sick." Budanov scoffed at accusations that he was disseminating misinformation as part of an information and propaganda war, insisting his claims were correct. "It's my job, it's my work, if not me who will know this?" he asked.
Putin to undergo treatment, transfer power to Patrushev: Report
According to an unverified New York Post (NYP) report earlier this month, Putin may undergo cancer surgery while temporarily delegating power to Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. Doctors have told Putin he must undergo surgery, NYP reported, citing a Telegram channel run by an ex-lieutenant general of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Patrushev is considered Putin's only trusted ally in the government.
Putin is very ill with blood cancer: Oligarch
A Russian oligarch, who reportedly has close ties with Putin, was recently recorded as saying, "Putin is very ill with blood cancer." In the call recording, the unnamed oligarch reportedly discussed Putin's health with a Western venture capitalist and said Putin had surgery on his back for his blood cancer shortly before ordering the invasion of Ukraine. The president has gone "crazy," he added.
Kremlin never commented on reports of Putin's ill health
Notably, the Kremlin has never commented on the reports of Putin's ill health. It is believed that the Kremlin has been tightly controlling the Russian president's appearances and setting limits on his meetings to try and maintain his strongman persona.
'Russian power is a myth': Ukrainian major general
Meanwhile, Budanov further said that Russia has suffered significant losses in the war. The Ukrainian military official stated that while Europe views Russia as a major threat, Ukraine recognizes that the "highly publicized Russian power is a myth." "It is not as powerful as this. It is a horde of people with weapons," Budanov asserted.