Kremlin determined to continue the war despite fearing defeat, Estonian intelligence says

17 March, 10:05 PM
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Dmitry Lobakin/Pool via REUTERS)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Dmitry Lobakin/Pool via REUTERS)

The Russian leadership is extremely nervous about a possible military defeat in Ukraine, but the Kremlin is determined to keep fighting, German newspaper Bild reported on March 17, citing Estonian intelligence services.

According to the report, a radical faction of Russia’s ruling elite is trying to “come to the fore,” while even moderates have been making rather extremist statements recently.

“Their behavior may be a sign of panic,” the intelligence report says.

“Perhaps they realized that the war in Ukraine was a huge mistake that cannot be corrected, and that the only way is to continue to fight, and with increasingly radical methods.”

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Estonian intelligence services assume that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin might have deliberately fomented these frictions between the political elites.

“It could also be part of Putin’s tactic to let the radicals come to the fore to show that if he disappears, an even more extremist group will take the helm,” Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service said.

The agency speculates that such an approach would explain Putin's benevolence towards Wagner PMC owner Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who are among the most radically hawkish elements in Russian political circles.

Estonian intelligence noted that if it is Putin's plan to allow "radicals to grow the influence among the ruling elite," then this strategy could harm Putin himself. At some point, the dictator could find it hard to keep the ultra-radicals in check as their influence soars. And in this regard, Prigozhin and Kadyrov are especially dangerous, since "each of them, in fact, has his own private army," the report concludes.

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