Plot to oust Putin already under way and war over by 2023, says spy chief

A coup to oust Russian leader Vladimir Putin from office is apparently "already under way" according to Ukraine's spy chief, who also claims that Russia would lose the war with Ukraine by the end of this year.

In the most upbeat assessment from any Ukrainian official since the war began, Major General Kyrylo Budanov has said that he believes a turning point in the conflict will be coming this summer.

The 36-year-old spy chief added that plans will eventually see Putin ousted from office as well.

General Budanov told Sky News: " The breaking point will be in the second part of August. Most of the active combat will have finished by the end of this year. It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation," adding that "this process has already been launched."

He also claimed that Putin, 69, is in a 'very bad psychological and physical condition', saying that he is suffering from cancer and other illnesses.

The Kremlin leader's health has been a subject of many speculations, with his visibly puffy face being linked to steroids used to treat one of his many alleged medical conditions.

Another unnamed Russian oligarch has also made the claim that Putin is 'very ill with blood cancer.' This speculation came as an audio recording of an oligarch, simply referred to as 'Yuri' was shared with New Lines magazine.

In the audio, the oligarch is heard making claims about Putin's health, highlighting him suffering from lower back problems as evidence of his blood cancer.

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Blood cancers like lymphoma or myeloma are known to cause diseases of the bone which can affect the spine and back, according to Ashley Grossman, a professor of endocrinology at Oxford University.

Some claims have also suggested that Putin is suffering from Parkinson's disease, with video footage showing him clutching a table to steady his shaking hands back in April.

Putin was also seen awkwardly walking through Red Square during this week's Victory Day parade, which may have been to hide a limp as per speculations.

He was also seen with a blanket across his lap during the patriotic holiday on Monday, May 9, though Moscow's weather was relatively warm on the day.

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Sparking further rumours on his health, Putin also missed an annual ice hockey match during Russia's Night Hockey League National Festival.

The Kremlin leader who has made a made a habit of gliding over the ice at the match, missed it this year only for the second time since 2012.

In recent years, Putin's public appearances have been less frequent, especially with him taking extra precautions over Covid-19. His paranoia over Covid rules has also been linked to a weakened immune system due to his alleged blood cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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With a number of signs over his alleged ill health cropping up, Christo Grozev, an expert on Russian affairs, has said that many leading military, security officials and oligarch cronies believe Putin to be dying or gravely ill.

After Putin's threat to strike Ukraine and the West with nuclear weapons, Mr Grozev has also claimed that beliefs over Putin's ill health and his impending death means that his inner circle is not likely to obey any of Putin's orders to kill opposition foes.

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