Putins removal being plotted by his own councillors

Ukrainian troops are successfully ‘pushing out’ Russian forces

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District council members in St Petersburg have drafted a petition calling for the Russian President to be removed from office for committing “treason”.

On Wednesday evening, the Smolninsky council adopted a petition stating that Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine had caused tremendous loss of life, strengthened NATO and had led to economic difficulties in Russia.

It said: “Putin’s actions present a threat to Russia’s security. He needs to be removed.”

They referred to the war using the Kremlin’s term “special military operation”, as following the invasion a censorship law was passed by Moscow making the use of the word “war” in relation to the conflict illegal.

This will come as a bitter personal blow to Putin, as he grew up in Smolninsky and began his political career in St Petersburg.

One of the councillors, Nikita Yurefev, explained the petition was designed to give voice to those Russians who are against the military action but are too afraid to speak up.

He told The Telegraph: “People are very anxious about what’s going on.

“We’ve decided to appeal to a different audience, using the arguments that we have heard so that maybe someone will think about it and see that the president’s stated goals (in Ukraine) have completely failed.”

The council has argued that the war has failed in at least one of its supposed objectives, which was to stop NATO expanding eastwards.

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Since the invasion the previously neutral states of Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership and been accepted.

Mr Yurefev added there is not much hope their petition will change much, but they want to send a message to fellow anti-war Russians.

He said: “My inbox is filled with messages of gratitude and support: it shows that it’s wrong to think that everyone in Russia supports Putin and the special military operation.

“This petition is for the people to see that there are many people who are against it, and they’re not alone.”

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In July Moscow councilman Alexei Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in prison for a speech in which he condemned the war and the slaughter of Ukrainian children.

However Mr Yurefev believes he will be safe from such persecution as the word “war” is not used in their petition.

He added: “We’re trying to use all legal means at our disposal.

“I don’t think it’s dangerous. We aren’t breaking the law in any way.”

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