- Henry Holloway
- Denis Grigorescu
- Published: 5:11 ET, Apr 1 2023
VLADIMIR Putin is a dead man walking – and he could be killed to finally end the war in Ukraine, a former CIA chief has said.
James Olson, the spy agency’s former chief of counterintelligence, said he believes the sharks are now circling for the tyrant back home in Russia.
Vladimir Putin’s future is now tied to the war in UkraineCredit: Getty Images – Getty
A Ukrainian soldier on a tank performs firing practice near the frontlineCredit: Getty
Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery towards Russian positions near Bakhmut
Olson told The Sun Online that Putin is now in a “no win” situation – with the war either devolving into a grinding statelemate, or ending with Vlad’s death.
He said if Putin stays in power he will never give up the war – and so the way to end it is for Vlad to be killed or ousted.
Olson, who served for over 30 years in the CIA and won medals for his service, explained that things don’t look good for Putin – with either his oligarch pals, his military, or even his people set to turn on him.
Putin has lost more than 170,000 soldiers, according to Ukraine, since the start of the conflict as his war machine continues to grind forward at a slow pace.
Vlad hasn’t made the gains he or his commanders expected and Russia has found itself bogged down a long, brutal war as humiliating defeats pile up.
The tyrant now seemingly has his future tied to his success or failure in Ukraine.
And for Olson, it appears things are not going to end well for Mad Vlad.
The ex-CIA man explained Putin “miscalculated” – overestimating the power of military and the effectiveness of their leadership.
“It is not going well at all. I believe Putin is in a no-win situation now,” Olson told The Sun Online.
“If Putin stays in power, there will be a long war because he will not give up – but I do not think that Putin is going to stay in power. I believe that he will be removed from power.
“I believe that there is a strong undercurrent of opposition to Putin in the military, in the intelligence services, among the oligarchs.”
Putin is known to live in fear of an uprising or internal coup – allegedly being obsessed with the toppling and subsequent killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Olson went on: “Putin is destroying Russia. I believe there are somegood Russians, some patriotic Russians who will decide enough is
“I think Putin will be taken out. I would not rule out assasination.
“I think it is actually likely that some patriotic Russians will decide they need to eliminate Putin.
“And that would be the end of the war. Because the Russian people are suffering and they are losing people. Putin is bleeding Russia and he cannot do that forever.”
I think the future is very bright for Russia once Putin is eliminated
Olson drew parallels between the number of Russian losses in the last 13 months, comparing it to how many were killed in Afghanistan.
Russia lost 15,000 soldiers in from 1979 to 1989.
And so Putin’s war disaster is seeing an attrition rate some ten times higher than a campaign wildly regarded as a failure.
“But what they are losing in Ukraine is much worse. And I believe there are generals who are disgusted by that tragic loss of lives and they will be a possible source of the uprising against Putin, said Olson.
“And if they do that I see Putin as a dead-man walking. He would not survive that. I think that it is more likely that Putin will be eliminated than a military defeat.
“I am optimistic because I think the people who will be motivated to elliminate Putin will be doing that for the right reasons, that they want to save Russia, that they want Russia return to the community of nations.
“I think they will be motivated to restore democracy to Russia. I think the future is very bright for Russia once Putin is eliminated.”
Kyiv continues to call for Western support to help them defeat Putin.
Vlad foolishly believed his forces would be welcomed into Ukraine as liberators when he invaded last February.
But instead the initial attack ended in a disaster which saw his forces devastated and thrown back to Russia.
Putin is now facing pressure internally to achieve something in Ukraine – and is also subject to international arrest warrant for war crimes.
But as long as Putin stays in power there is an “extreme risk” the war could expand beyond Ukraine, warned Olson.
“If the war is not ended because of the elimination of Putin, it could
easily spread,” he told The Sun Online.
“We know that the regional ambitions of Putin were to consolidate his control of Eastern Ukraine, including to take over Moldova, who is a target.”
Olson added: “The world needs to be aware that Moldova is at great risk.”
Ukraine and Russia have faced a stalemate along the eastern front of the war for most of the winter.
The bloodiest fighting of the war remains centred on Bakhmut – known as “Fortress Bakhmut” – which has been described as a “slaughter-fest” for the Russians.
Putin’s forces and his paramilitary Wagner Group were mercenaries were expected to make a breakthrough in recent weeks.
Brave defenders however are holding strong – and Russian troops are becoming exhausted, according US General Mark Milley.
“They are suffering an enormous amount of casualties in the Bakhmut area. The Ukrainians are inflicting a lot of death and destruction on these guys,” he said.
Ukraine continues to buy time for what is expected to be a major counter offensive in the coming months.
James Olson served with the CIA for 30 years