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Russian president Vladimir Putin could meet his demise if he's overthrown by those closest to him, a former US general believes.
General Jack Keane said a growing number of senior figures in Putin's inner circle have become increasingly frustrated with the handling of the war in Ukraine, putting his future in serious doubt.
While General Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the US Army, alluded to a potential assassination from within, he warned Putin will "do anything" to remain in power.
"What I’m focused on is Putin’s determination. He’s all about staying in power... that’s his motivation, he will do anything to stay in power," he told Fox Business Live last week.
“The alternative, he knows full well, by a successor who doesn’t agree with him, could mean the end of him – his demise."
General Keane said he takes Putin "seriously", saying the 69-year-old is relentless in his pursuit of returning to the Russian Empire.
“He has no future beyond him being the president of Russia — that’s a fact.”
"He started this war with Ukraine that he cannot win, and losing the war means a death sentence for him personally," he told ABC radio.
Mr Ponomarev also believes his death could come as a result of "somebody from the inner circle pulling the trigger".
Putin's cancer battle 'well known'
Putin's highly-publicised health has also prompted concern over his suitability to lead Russia.
Video last month of him gripping a table for large parts of a 12-minute meeting with his defence minister fuelled speculation he is suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
Unverified reports have also claimed Putin will undergo treatment for abdominal cancer.
Russian news outlet Proekt revealed Putin was "constantly" accompanied by a medical team, including an oncologist.
Telegram channel General SVR claimed Kremlin sources said it was "well known" Putin has cancer and Parkinson's disease.
Putin has met a level of resistance from Ukraine he clearly did not anticipate, with Russian troops forced to retreat from areas surrounding the capital Kyiv.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said during a livestream interview that an exception can only be made for a peace deal if Russia surrenders.
Danilov also stressed the conflict will not end soon, as a turning point has not yet come. But he said considering the number of weapons being delivered to Ukraine by the West, a turning point is bound to happen.
Russia has not responded to the comments. However, its attacks on the Ukrainian military strongholds, command posts, and air-defence missile systems are continuing.
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