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Putin could ‘disappear’ from leadership as there is ‘clearly something wrong’

"Vulernable" Vladimir Putin could "disappear" from his position as Russia's leader if he loses the war with Ukraine, according to the former chief of the secret service.

Former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove told GB News that Putin can't afford to fail with the "special military operation," with his political career hanging in the balance.

Sir Dearlove described it as "a very vulnerable situation" the long-time Russian leader sees himself in, with the conflict "going from bad to worse."

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“He's probably faced with another call-up. That clearly is deeply unpopular in Russia. There must be massive tensions within the leadership group inside the Kremlin, there must be massive tensions socially across Russia over this whole issue," he said.

In an interview on the Camilla Tominey Show, he added: “I just don't think we can say if he will be deposed.

“I rashly predicted last year that on the grounds of probably his health, he gets shuffled off into a sanatorium and would disappear and then you would just have a probably a continuation of the same regime and in someone else's hands.

“I still think that that's a possibility. There's clearly something wrong with him. Physically, I think. I'm not a clinician but I know there are clinicians analysing his movements.

“There's something wrong with him and maybe that is affecting his political judgement as well.”

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It comes as US intelligence reportedly claimed that the number of Russians killed or injured in Ukraine has reached 188,000.

Vladimir Putin's forces are also said to have seen 2,000 of their tanks destroyed or captured since the invasion began nearly a year ago.

The new figures were shared at a Western summit on Thursday held at Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany.

They dwarf the 100,000 "dead, injured, or have deserted" estimate given by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last month.

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