Ukraine war: Countdown has begun to end of Putin, say Kyiv officials

Attention in the Ukrainian capital has been fixed squarely on the mutiny of the Wagner Group, its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, and its consequences for Vladimir Putin and the conduct of the war in Ukraine.

The drama over the border in Russia has hardened the view in Kyiv that Mr Putin’s time as Russia’s president is coming to an end.

“I think the countdown has started,” said Andriy Yermak, President Zelensky’s closest adviser.

At a briefing in Kyiv, he looked back to the year that Russia first invaded Ukraine, annexing the Crimean Peninsula.

“What Ukraine has seen since 2014 has become evident for the entire world,” said Mr Yermak.

“This [Russia] is a terrorist country whose leader is an inadequate person who has lost connection with reality. The world must conclude that it’s impossible to have any kind of serious relationship with that country.”

Senior Ukrainian officials who spoke to the BBC here in Kyiv all argued that President Putin could not ride out a catastrophic loss of authority.

It started, they said, with his disastrous decision to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year. The Wagner mutiny, and Mr Prigozhin’s denunciation of the Kremlin’s justifications for the war have, they said, removed what remained of Mr Putin’s chances of hanging on.

“The Putin regime” one of them insisted, “cannot be saved.”



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