Russian President Vladimir Putin and his friends are “preparing to flee Russia” if his army is defeated in Ukraine, according to a Telegram channel that claims to come from inside the Kremlin, according to a news outlet. As his Donbas offensive stagnates, Ukriane prepares to retake Kherson and its economy collapses, the Russian leader is “aware of the possibility of a sharp change in mood in the country”, reported the Daily. Mail.
Last week, the General SVR channel reported that the 69-year-old suffered from “strong nausea” during the night, with doctors at his bedside for around three hours. Following this report, they claim that “Putin himself and his entourage are preparing evacuation plans from Russia”. It is believed that any plane carrying Putin and his family out of Russia would head for Syria, the closest friendly state and whose leader, Bashar al-Assad, bailed out Putin by intervening in the Syrian civil war in 2015. flight from Russia to Syria, however, is expected to fly over the airspace of NATO member Turkey.
If Turkey’s strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused permission for the plane carrying Putin and his family to enter his airspace, it would sabotage the ‘fastest’ escape route and possibly “the only one” of the Russian leader, the media reported. Erdogan and Putin enjoy a complex relationship, having been friends and foes on several occasions over the past decade as each leader tries to navigate their country through a difficult geopolitical quarter. Iran is another regional power – and Western enemy – that would be interested in Putin’s fate.
“In principle, it is advantageous for Iran and Turkey to keep the Russian president in exile in reserve, using him, depending on the situation, as leverage or as a bargaining chip,” the channel said. Although Turkey is a member of the Western military alliance, under Erdogan’s leadership the country has “cut off its own diplomatic channel in international relations”. Earlier this month, Putin met with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Tehran, ostensibly to discuss Syria. It is no exaggeration to imagine that Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi discussed in private the possibility of Putin seeking asylum in the event of a coup or revolution at home, the report concludes.