A highly ranked Kremlin official has gone behind Vladimir Putin's back to reach out to the West in a bid to bring the almost six-month war in Ukraine to an end, it's been reported.
An anonymous source close to Vladimir Putin revealed the country's elite is riddled with "panic" and desperate for the bloody war to end, a leaked document revealed.
A document believed to have been circulated around Western intelligence agencies was supposedly seen by UK-based tabloid newspaper The Mirror.
"A representative of Putin’s inner-circle sent a signal to the West about the desire to negotiate," it supposedly said. "The mood of the Kremlin elite is panic."
The Kremlin insider wasn't named in the document but has been described as a "pillar of the regime" in Russia.
Speaking to the publication, a Ukrainian diplomatic source implied it wasn't too surprising that some officials would go behind Putin's back by reaching out to Western intelligence agencies.
"It is often the case as happened in the closing stages of the Second World War that officials on a side concerned about their future make approaches to ensure it," he said
"They know there is a good life to be had away from Putin’s grasp but so far they have not done anything about it as they are too terrified of what will happen to them."
Vocal officials mysteriously dead or ill
Any leading politician who criticises the war, or declares a desire for peace, would put themselves and their families in extreme danger.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, a number of top officials have even fallen ill or mysteriously died, according to reports.
Former deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais left Russia in protest of the war after resigning from his post as special envoy to international organisations.
The 67-year-old is reportedly in intensive care after falling ill last month with a rare neurological disorder, Sky News reported.
A day after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a senior official of Russia's energy giant Gazprom, Alexander Tyulakov, was found dead in his garage.
A suicide note was supposedly left however he was reportedly "badly beaten".
Meanwhile, ex-Kremlin official, Vladislav Avayev, 51, was found dead alongside his daughter in their family home in Moscow.
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