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Putin to be overthrown by three key rivals in ‘hammercoup claims ex-CIA chief

A SECRET plot to overthrow Vladimir Putin could already be in the works, according to a CIA-insider.

Die “hammer blowto topple the voor verskrikte klasmaats leader could be set up by Putin’s own inner-circle in a surprise coup to catch him off guard.

Russian President Vladimir Putin could be ousted by his own-inner circle over the bungling invasion of Ukraine, according to a former-spy chief

Russian President Vladimir Putin could be ousted by his own-inner circle over the bungling invasion of Ukraine, according to a former-spy chiefKrediet: AP
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is a close Putin-ally, but could be central to a mutiny to overthrow the president, according to a CIA-insider

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is a close Putin-ally, but could be central to a mutiny to overthrow the president, according to a CIA-insiderKrediet: AP

Former-CIA Moscow station chief Daniel Hoffman claimed Putin’s cronies could look to secretly overthrow the president if his invasion of Oekraïne starts to go south.

“These guys that are going to do it are going to be so secret about it so that Putin doesn’t find them and kill them first,” Hoffman said.

“It’ll happen all of a sudden. And he’ll be dead.”

The former intelligence chief said that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to his own undoing, and members of his inner-circle could be set for a mutiny to seize control of the conflict.

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“Nobody’s gonna ask, ‘Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?’ No. It’s a f**king hammer to the head and he’s dead. Or it’s time to go to the sanatorium,” Hoffman told The Daily Beast.

“They schwack him for it. That’s what they’ll do.”

Putin’s ailing health has raised suspicions that Russia could soon gain a new leader as the invasion of Ukraine continues, and Hoffman said that there are three key players to keep an eye on if he is replaced.

Top of the list to potentially seize control of Moscow is Nikolai Patrushev, the chief of Putin’s Security Council.

Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s secretive intelligence agency FSB, is also thought to be high on the pecking order if Putin is toppled.

Egter, perhaps the most probable substitute would be Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a central Putin-ally who has had very visible role in Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

The prolonged war in Ukraine has also led to suggestions that Putin’s bungling of the invasion could lead to his assassinationwith his cabal covering it up with his failing health.

Another former-CIA agent, Ronald Marks, agreed that Russia could be set for a new leader, and said if Putin is unseated there will be chaos as Moscow is hit with a massive power-struggle.

“There’d be a mad-dash scramble for a few weeks over who gets power,” he told the Daily Beast.

“It wouldn’t go to hell right away. We’re not talking about tanks in the street right away. What you’re probably going to see though is among the guys around him, there will be a struggle to take that job.”

Although the former-intelligence agent said that Putin is safe while Russia is still able to make gains in Ukraine, if the war begins to go downhill the president would become vulnerable.

“Russia is making gains now, and they’re not going to back off. Nobody backs off when you’re winning.

“If Ukraine by some miracle were able to push these guys out of the Donbas, and make it humiliating for him, I think he’s up for grabs,” added Marks.

The Russians are very sensitive, more than they would say, to internal opinion within Russia.

“It’s a country that will explode, but it takes a long time… When you do see the explosion it’s going to come around the economics. Once they can’t get food, once things get rough like that, then you’re going to see people in the streets.”

Ukrainian intelligence also believes that Putin could be ousted as his inner-circle looks to take command of the military invasion, and they reportedly believe Alexander Bortnikov is the chosen successor.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Russia's secretive intelligence agency FSB, is believed to be high on the list of candidates if Putin is overthrown

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Russia’s secretive intelligence agency FSB, is believed to be high on the list of candidates if Putin is overthrownKrediet: AFP
Head of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev is also near the top of the pecking order of would-be Putin replacements

Head of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev is also near the top of the pecking order of would-be Putin replacementsKrediet: Getty – Bydraer