A former officer in Vladimir Putin’s personal security detail, who has taken refuge in Europe, has revealed to Western intelligence services, including Britain’s MI6, that the Russian president is suffering from an extreme state of paranoia and isolation.
According to a French source, who is closely following the diplomatic rapprochement between Algeria and Russia, Moscow will support Algiers’ request to join the BRICS (an alliance comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
According to a US military intelligence report, one of the secret plans of Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, during his rebellion against Moscow, was to seize a Russian tactical nuclear missile base not far from the town of Rostov-on-Don, where Wagner’s forces had set up their headquarters at the start of their march on Moscow.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is expected in Paris for a state visit which should take place, unless further postponed, before the end of June. But Russia, a great economic and military ally of Algiers, insisted that the Algerian president go to Moscow before his visit to Paris.
In the West, Vladimir Putin is most often described as an isolated, even “paranoid” leader, enjoying absolute power that dispenses him from consulting or listening to advisers. However, if it is obvious that Putin is an autocrat who has freed himself from any counter-power, there are advisors in his “first circle” who are known for their moderation and others who are openly warmongers.
For anyone who visited Kiev – I was there at the end of January – in the weeks preceding Vladimir Putin’s coup de force, the prospect of seeing the weapons speak is a heartbreaker and an appalling waste. For two reasons. Firstly, the youth I met in the cafés of Kreschatyk Street, the main and monumental thoroughfare of the Ukrainian capital, is fundamentally pro-European. In the region, they look more to Vilnius in Lithuania, an EU member state where many young Ukrainians study, than to Moscow.
A contract has recently been signed with Russian armaments companies to set up a maintenance and repair centre for S-400 ground-to-air defence systems in China.