Vladimir Putin now in trouble and he knows it

Russia: Putin facing ‘internal division’ in the military says expert

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Vladimir Putin is “in trouble” and is leading an “unstable” Russian government, Yale economists tell Express.co.uk as Russia continues to grapple with Western sanctions. Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian have done extensive research on the Russian economy since the start of Moscow’s invasion last February.

They believe the combination of Western sanctions and Russia losing Europe as a major gas customer will leave Moscow economically “irrelevant”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Tian said: “This is a make or break for Putin’s economy and military. There’s this realisation that what is going on right now cannot go on much longer.

“That’s why, on the battlefield, he has more than 300,00 draftees that he is probably going to unleash in the spring when the ground dries up in Ukraine.

“Economically, he has run out of economic relevance. What happens economically is linked to what happens on the battlefield.

“On the economic side, the squeeze is deepening, Putin is in absolute trouble and he seems to know that. This is a make-or-break year for him.”

Mr Sonnenfeld also added: “Putin has gone through three different cohorts of economic voices.

“Putin has had the most unstable staffing of any country that isn’t undergoing a revolution.”

It appears that Putin could be looking to double down on his war on Ukraine despite the military and economic setbacks his country has endured so far.

Russia analysts believe Moscow is preparing another mobilisation to bolster its forces.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said Tuesday: “Putin may announce a second mobilisation wave to expand his army in the coming days— possibly as early as January 18.”

In December, Putin said there would be no need for a second round of recruitment: “Under these conditions, talk about any additional mobilization measures simply makes no sense.”

But the Ukrainian Defence Ministry has also said that they believe Putin will recruit more troops.

They said in a statement: “Military intelligence of Ukraine does not rule out that the leadership of Russia will announce another wave of mobilization in the coming days.

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“Preparations for the announcement of the next wave of mobilisation in Russia are already actively underway. At the legislative level, changes are being made to the laws of the Russian Federation that regulate mobilisation. Active training of training centers is also underway.”

Russia may also get help on the battlefield from Belarus. The two countries have been engaging in joint military drills in recent days, causing concern in Ukraine that a new offensive could be on the horizon.

One Ukrainian soldier discussed this possibility with NBC News on Monday.

He said: “In all areas of our responsibility we are building these fortifications to be able to defend and mount counter-offensives clandestinely.

“The potential offensive from the Belarusian side could come from anywhere. That’s why we are getting ready for all scenarios.”

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