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Russia's army could be on the verge of collapse in the Ukraine, amid claims Vladimir Putin has seen the reported 30,000 dead troops as 'a price worth paying'.
Putin ordered Kremlin troops into Ukraine on 24 February, but despite Western intelligence suggesting he anticipated an easy victory, has now spent almost 100 days waging war.
Now a confidential report seen by The Mirror, written by a "top UK analyst on Russia" has claimed Putin still believes he can win a "partial victory" - despite those inside the Kremlin telling him the invasion has been a disaster.
According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as of 31 May, 30,500 Russian soldiers have so far been killed.
Watch: Russian soldiers caught on tape lamenting losses and blasting army of ‘stupid morons’
Putin's forces have also reportedly sustained heavy material losses, including almost 1,400 tanks, over 200 planes and over 170 helicopters.
The report said: "Russia's attempt to achieve a speedy and decisive victory in the Donbas has not yet succeeded. They are still grinding forward, gaining 1-2km a day.
"The Russians are now achieving what successes they have mostly by means of a slogging match with repeated, very costly, infantry attacks reminiscent of 1945 not 2022.
"The gross failures of the campaign Putin has so far been able to hide quite well from the Russian public, or to blame on various officials, who have been arrested and replaced.
"The Russian population until recently bought Putin's disinformation. We have seen an attempt within the Kremlin to get a message across to Putin and his closest team that things are going wrong, perhaps even catastrophically wrong."
The failure to seize control of the country and overthrow the democratically elected government has caused the Russian government to switch tactics.
Instead of seeking control over Kyiv, Russian troops are now concentrating on seizing the Donbas region in the east, some of which was already under the control of Russian-backed breakaway rebels.
Questions have also been raised over the health of Putin himself, amid rumours he has cancer and has been given only a few years to live.
The Russian president turns 70 this year and has in charge of his country in some way or another for more than 20 years.
The rumours have been swirling for months, with various western and Ukrainian media claiming they had spoken to senior members of the Russian government on the condition of anonymity about the president's health.
An FSB officer (Russian secret service) told the Sunday Mirror: “We are told he is suffering from headaches and when he appears on TV he needs pieces of paper with everything written in huge letters to read what he’s going to say.
“They are so big each page can only hold a couple of sentences. His eyesight is seriously worsening.”
The spy added that Putin’s limbs are “now also shaking uncontrollably”.