Former Russian Minister Says Putin's Dictatorship Will End in Disaster

Former Russian Minister Says Putin's Dictatorship Will End in Disaster

The former Russian foreign minister ruled out the possibility of a nuclear war, declaring that the opportunity represented a "hollow threat" from Vladimir Putin.

And Andrei Kozyrev, who served under Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin, suggested that the Putin era would soon end in a "disaster" amid the Ukraine crisis.

Putin escalated his aggression three weeks ago when he put Russia's nuclear forces on high alert in the wake of the West's so-called "unfriendly" response to his invasion.

At the very least, it raised the possibility that he was considering using a nuclear weapon, although experts dismissed this as mere rhetoric.

Russia has 4,477 nuclear warheads. It is one of nine countries with nuclear weapons capabilities. Of the other eight, three NATO allies - the United States, France, and the United Kingdom - have 5,943 nuclear warheads.

Kozyrev continued: "Those forces that he allegedly ordered ... the sources openly say they do not see anything like that. It is an empty threat, but he is playing this game.

"Those strategic weapons he ordered on alert [are] suicide weapons because if he sends a missile to Europe or NATO or the United States, he recovers two missiles. There will be no survival for anyone."

Asked how Putin's dictatorship would end, Kozyrev said: "It's a disaster. It's already a disaster, but he doesn't realize it."

He added that a coup was possible, saying it was "a big part of Russian tradition."

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Putin's invasion was hampered by the slow progress, with fierce Ukrainian resistance and logistical issues among Russian forces. For example, it was reported that 230 Russian tanks were lost in the war, which, if correct, would be the army's most experienced since World War II.

His war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, killing hundreds of civilians and uprooting millions of people from their homes.

Kozyrev added that he expects Putin to try to "negotiate a way out" if it turns out that he cannot win and begins to face increasing resistance among Russians.

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