Vladimir Putin has to achieve and announce a significant victory against Ukraine by autumn, or he could be forced out of office, according to a former Prime Minister of Russia. Mikhail Kasyanov, formerly a close ally of President Putin, warned that Russia could be defeated by Ukraine “in a few months”. This comes as Russia’s ground offensive in the east has slowed down.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Kasyanov said that weariness among ordinary Russians as well as an economic catastrophe will peak “by October or November”.
He explained: “He needs a victory, he needs to report to the people of Russia that operation has been completed and they achieved something.
“He believes that the West will face military fatigue.
“But this coming autumn will change the whole situation, I think.”
The former Russian Prime Minister continued: “Ukraine could declare victory within a few months, and will restore its territorial integrity.
“Within a few months, people close to Putin will start calling for changes. It is inevitable.”
When asked whether President Putin was feeling the pressure, he responded: “Yes, this coming autumn will be the point where new questions will appear among ordinary Russians.
“They will start asking questions and propaganda will not be able to provide answers. Putin needs a victory, he needs to be seen as strong.”
The recent increase in civilian deaths comes as Russian and Ukrainian military forces remain in a fierce battle on the frontlines of Ukraine’s eastern territories.
In a briefing on Friday, a senior US military official said: I think all told over the week we’re looking at between 100, 150, somewhere in there, civilian casualties, civilian deaths, this week in Ukraine as a result of Russian strikes.
“I think what you’re seeing is a matchup between bad morale and strong will.”
Meanwhile, Russian forces are preparing for a new offensive, according to the Kyiv Independent.
Vadym Skibitsky, a representative of the intelligence directorate at Ukraine’s defense ministry, said that Russian activity signal that “undoubtedly, preparations for the next stage of offensive actions are underway”.
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