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Ukraine's spy chief last night claimed that a coup to remove Vladimir Putin is already under way and that Russia would lose the war by the end of this year.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov, 36, said he believed a turning point in the conflict will come later this summer and will eventually see Putin ousted from office.

'The breaking point will be in the second part of August,' General Budanov told Sky News. 

'Most of the active combat will have finished by the end of this year. It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched.

'As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories.'

It was also claimed yesterday by an unnamed Russian oligarch that Putin is 'very ill with blood cancer'.

The oligarch - who has close ties to the Kremlin and named only as 'Yuri' to protect his identity - claimed a number of the health problems Putin is believed to be suffering from are linked to him having blood cancer. 

Ukraine's spy chief says that a coup against Vladimir Putin is already underway amid Russia's disastrous invasion of Ukraine 

A damaged Russian tank near the village of Mala Rohan, near Kharkiv. Major General Kyrylo Budanov, 36, said he believed a turning point in the conflict will come later this summer

A destroyed Russian helicopter near the village of Mala Rohan, near Kharkiv, Ukraine. General Budanov's comments are the most upbeat assessment given by any Ukrainian official since the war began

Vladimir Putin is 'very ill with blood cancer', a Russian oligarch has claimed according to a new report, amid on-going speculation about the strongman's health. Pictured: Putin is seen clutching a small desk during a meeting with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu

General Budanov's comments are the most upbeat assessment given by any Ukrainian official since the war began. 

But the Ukrainian head of military intelligence was one of the few top officials to correctly predict Russian troops and tanks would pour over Ukraine's borders to try to seize its territory.

However, in a rebuke to Russia's claims of military prowess, he branded Moscow's army 'a horde of people with weapons', adding that 'this highly publicised Russian power is a myth'.

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General Budanov also claimed Putin, 69, is in a 'very bad psychological and physical condition', saying that he is suffering from cancer and other illnesses.

His health has been the subject of speculation this year, with his face becoming visibly puffy from what has been described as steroid use to treat one of his conditions.

Recent video footage also shows him clutching a table to steady his shaking hands.

The speculation comes as an audio recording of an oligarch – named only as 'Yuri' – was said to have been obtained by a Western venture capitalist and shared with New Lines magazine. 

In it the oligarch reportedly made a number of claims concerning Putin's health, highlighting him suffering from lower back problems as evidence of his condition. Putin underwent surgery on his back in October 2021.

It has also been claimed that Putin is suffering from Parkinson's disease. He was shown awkwardly walking through Red Square during this week's Victory Day parade.

Speculations on Putin's health range from Parkinsons to blood cancer as Ukraine's spy chief General Kyrylo Budanov says he is in a 'very bad psychological and physical condition'

The magazine said it was able to authenticate the oligarch's identity and voice, but would not reveal their name because of repercussions he could face for criticising Putin.

Putin has been seen in public less frequently than normal, and when he is shown on television, his appearances are heavily curated. 

But despite the Kremlin being scrupulous with what footage of Putin is released to the public, there have been a number of signs that he is unwell.

On Monday, Putin gave a speech during Moscow's Victory Day parade - an annual event Russia celebrates to mark the end of its involvement in the Second World War.

Putin was shown awkwardly walking through Red Square - possibly to hide a limp. He was also seen with a blanket across his lap as he watched the proceedings, despite Moscow that day being a relatively mild 48 Fahrenheit (9C).

On April 22 he was seen meeting defence minister Sergei Shoigu, slumped in his seat at a comically small desk which he gripped like a vice for the whole conversion.

In March, having delivered a speech at a large pro-war rally in Russia's capital, Putin was filmed walking down a short flight of stairs putting more weight on his left leg.

His right hand - the same that gripped the desk in April - has been shown shaking, while he was also seen clutching the armrest of a chair during a meeting with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

In the build-up to the invasion of Ukraine, he held meetings with world leaders and other Russian military officials sat at either end of huge banquet-sized tables amid reports he was taking extra precautions over Covid-19.

Individuals meeting Putin were required to be tested rigorously for Covid-19.

Blood cancers - such as lymphoma or myeloma - are a cancer of plasma cells, and can cause pervasive bone disease.

Speaking to New Lines, Ashley Grossman - a professor of endocrinology at Oxford University - said such diseases can affect the spine and back.

What's more, treatment for such diseases involve steroids, which can result in a puffy face, and chemotherapy, which results in hair loss.

Putin is not known to be suffering from hair loss, but other blood cancers like Myeloma tend to not require chemotherapy.

Myeloma can, however, lead to a compression in the spine.

Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the Russian Land Forces Oleg Salyukov walk after a military parade on Victory Day, in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022. Putin moved awkwardly, suggesting he was hiding a limp

Treatments for such types of cancer also weaken a patient's immune system, which could go some way to explaining Putin's cautious approach to Covid distancing. 

The type of blood cancer Putin might be suffering from was not specified by the oligarch, who was secretly recorded by the unnamed venture capitalist.

However, it was evident that 'Yuri' hold a level of disdain for Russia's leader.

'[Putin] absolutely ruined Russia's economy, Ukraine's economy and many other economies — ruined [them] absolutely,' the oligarch said, according to New Lines. 'The problem is with his head. … One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.'

He decried Putin for saying he was 'trying to find Nazis and fascists' as a pretext to invade Ukraine, and went on to say 'we all hope' the Russian leader dies of cancer, or from an internal hit-job by those closest to him. 

Yuri said he holds Putin personally accountable for the deaths of 'more than 15,000 Russian soldiers and 4,000 or 5,000 civilians in Ukraine. It's unbelievable. For what? He killed more people than in 10 years in the [Soviet] Afghan war.'

The magazine said it was able to authenticate the oligarch's identity and voice. The publication said it would not reveal the name of the oligarch because of the repercussions he could face for criticising Russia's president.

It added that he left Russia in 2021, and that his net worth put him in Forbes' list of Russia's top 200 wealthiest people. New Lines said the majority of the conversation was spent with Yuri asking how he could recover from Western sanctions.

But the magazine also said he was described by a former European security chief as being part of a close circle of 20 to 30 people the Russian leader met with in 2014, ahead of his annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Putin was seen with a blanket across his lap as he watched the Victory Day proceedings on May 9, despite Moscow that day being a relatively mild 48 Fahrenheit (9C)

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Rep. Elise Stefanik promoted great replacement conspiracy cited by Buffalo terrorist

The party of conspiracy theories, terrorism, and attempted coup.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik was catapulted to a top House Republican leadership position after Republicans purged Rep. Liz Cheney from the role as punishment for speaking out against Donald Trump's violent attempted coup. Stefanik has since proven to have no moral boundaries whatsoever, eagerly embracing the farthest-right conspiracy theories culled from QAnon, from neo-Nazi groups, and other extremists—but we knew that, due to her fervent prior backing of an actual attempted coup and her devotion now to sabotaging investigations of that coup.

Stefanik was quick to express vague sympathy over the murder of 10 Americans at the hands of a white supremacist citing the neo-Nazi "great replacement" theory, a white nationalist conspiracy theory that claims world elites (billionaire George Soros is frequently mentioned, or just nameless "Democrats") are importing non-white immigrants in great numbers so as to dilute America's "whiteness."

But Stefanik, like Tucker Carlson, has been a promoter of that same neo-Nazi conspiracy theory. She is one of the House Republicans that helped mainstream it into the party proper.


This you?

— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) May 14, 2022

Stefanik did not just embrace the "great replacement" theory as a one-off nod to the party’s white supremacist base. Stefanik launched a Facebook ad campaign pushing the conspiracy theory that was considered abhorrent at the time, and looks even more grotesque now that it has yet again become the cited impetus for a mass murder.

But Stefanik, whose promotion of fringe-right conspiracy theories includes the frothing QAnon-premised claim that opponents of Trumpism are secretly pedophiles, is of course offering no apologies or acknowledgements.

Like Tucker Carlson, she uses violence-provoking conspiracy claims to further her own career while ignoring or mocking the deaths caused when violent believers decide that only terrorism can prevent their advertised conspiracy from taking place. The "great replacement" conspiracy is now widespread in Republican rhetoric; there is now no great difference between the spittle-flecked conspiracies of neo-Nazism and those of Republican Party "leadership."

The Republican Party is a cesspit. From national leaders to minor state functionaries, its officials stoke violence like it is nothing to them. Party propagandists invent new hoaxes for every situation, hoping that the resulting extremism boosts them even if it kills others. It makes perfect sense that the fascist supporters of an attempted coup would expel Liz Cheney from leadership while embracing this perpetually amoral liar and propagandist; that is who they are.

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