Former MI6 spy warns Ukraine conflict could end with Putin’s assassination – ‘No way back’

Jeremy Vine guest on consequences of Putin assassination

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Former secret intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who ran the Russia desk at MI6 in London from 2006 to 2009, believes the war will only end when a deal is made that excludes Vladimir Putin and sees him ousted from leadership.Mr Steele told Sky News’ Beth Rigby there is no way back for Putin and this will cause issues for the diplomatic discussions and negotiations trying to secure a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Steele noted that the peace deal with Putin will be “one of the big problems that the West is going to face going forward”.

He added: “I don’t see how we can trust Putin in any sort of peace deal that comes now, and I don’t see how we can deal with him in terms of normal business going forward.

“Afterall, the President of America has called him a war criminal.”

Ms Rigby pressed the former spy to explain how he thought the conflict would come to an end if peaceful negotiations are scuppered by Putin going too far down the rabbit hole.

Mr Steele replied: “I think it does end in a deal of some sort, but I think that that deal is some way off and I think it probably doesn’t include Vladimir Putin.

“I think he may well be pushed aside out of the top leadership, or even possibly assassinated by his own people.”

Former Director at the US National Security Council, Fiona Hill previously stated that Putin is now fearing for his life and is “paranoid” about an assassination attempt.

She said: “Any kind of loose talk about somebody taking him out, regime change… He’s extremely paranoid about this.”

As concerns of rising opposition in Russia have reached the Kremlin, police in Russia have clamped down on protestors and the media machine has continued to churn out Russian propaganda.

Putin himself also made a direct attempt to keep people on side, possibly after fearing a coup is on the way to see him removed as President.

The Russian President said: “The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like an insect in their mouth onto the pavement.”

Nikoli Petrov, a Senior Research fellow on Russia and Eurasia at Chatham House stated that “the possibility [of assassination] is increasing” and believes this could come from a family member with trusted access to the Russian.

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Mr Steele stated “we’ve gone over a watershed” now that Putin cannot come back from, adding “I can’t believe he can be rehabilitated in the international community and that’s a big problem for us going forward.”

Ms Rigby added: “It also means he has no incentive to stop fighting.”

The former agent agreed before adding: “Unless of course, they start losing on the ground.

“One of the remarkable things about this situation now is that it does look as if the Russian army, at least in some areas, is being defeated.”

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