Putin mocked over retaliation claims as he’s ‘not got enough novichok’

Speaking to Sky, Ms Ovsyannikova said: “I think that Putin doesn’t have enough Novichok for all his opponents because when the war started many more people started speaking against the regime and many more will do that.”

Ms Ovsyannikova also discussed the possibility of protests within Russia having an impact as the war continues.

She said: “I don’t think that grassroots protests are possible. You need to understand that there are 3 million people serving in the FSB, the police, let alone private security companies. We’re talking about repressions of Stalin’s scale.

“I don’t think those are going to be grassroots protests.”

She added: “Navalny’s in prison. There is no leader who would be able to consolidate people. There is no active organisation.”

As to how Putin will be brought down, Ms Ovsyannikova said: “I think the elites will divide and well, we don’t know this might not be a classic coup.

“No one, probably, is going to kill or poison Putin, but someone from his inner circle might come to him one day and say, Vladimir, we’re losing the war. It’s time to go.”

Ms Ovsyannikova’s comments come after an embarrassing few weeks for Putin after a drone broke through the Kremlin’s air defences and the country’s victory day parade on May 9 was lacking in armour.

The only tank on display at the annual parade in Red Square, Moscow, was a T-34 ‘Victory Tank’ from World War 2.

Alongside the sole tank, there were around 50 pieces of military hardware. The traditional air show was also cancelled.

Despite the visible lack of heavy armour, Putin took to the stage in a 10-minute speech. He said the world was at a turning point and that Russia was engaged in a patriotic struggle for its future.

Putin also accused “Western globalist elites” of spreading Russophobia and claimed that Ukrainian citizens had become “hostages to a state coup” and succumbed to the ambitions of the West.

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Putin did not address the challenges facing Russia as its forces prepared for a long-awaited counteroffensive by Ukraine.

Speaking in Kyiv Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country needed more time as their military awaits the delivery of more aid.

President Zelensky said: “With [what we already have] we can go forward, and, I think, be successful. But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.”

Amongst the vast array of equipment being sent to Ukraine’s frontline is a fleet of Challenger 2 tanks donated by the UK to shore up heavy armour divisions ahead of the expected push.

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