- The former CIA chief said Vladimir Putin would not back down from Ukraine war
- Olson didn’t rule out assassination as a way to remove the Russian leader from power
- He said Russians would be motivated to restore democracy in their country following Putin’s removal
A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief has suggested that the fate of Russian President Vladimir Putin is now tied to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
James Olson, the former counterintelligence chief at the CIA, said Putin is facing a gargantuan task to keep his grip on power. “It is not going well at all. I believe Putin is in a no-win situation now,” Olson told The Sun.
Olson argued that the Russian president overestimated the effectiveness of his military on the Ukrainian battlefield after promising to overrun Ukraine within days. However, Russian forces are continuing to fight in Ukraine for over a year now.
Olson assessed that Putin would not back down in the war against Ukraine as long as he stays in power. He also expressed concern that there is an “extreme risk” that the war could expand beyond Ukraine.
However, the former CIA official believes Putin would likely be removed by those who keep him in the Kremlin, as some sectors of Russian society are concerned about the situation on the battlefield.
“I believe that he will be removed from power,” Olson said, adding, “I believe that there is a strong undercurrent of opposition to Putin in the military, in the intelligence services, among the oligarchs.”
Olson further said that he “would not rule out assassination” as a way to remove Putin from power, arguing there are “some patriotic Russians who will decide enough is enough.”
According to Olson, Putin’s removal from power would likely signal an end to the Russian-led war.
The former CIA counterintelligence chief even suggested that Russians would be motivated to restore democracy in their country and fix Russia’s international image following Putin’s removal.
Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced an arrest warrant against Putin, accusing the Russian leader of committing a war crime for unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children to Russian territory.
This was the first time an incumbent head of state of a U.N. Security Council member was slapped with a warrant of arrest.
However, the ICC’s mission to capture Putin is facing a tall order as the international tribunal only relies on its member-states to arrest and detain suspects.
So far, Germany, Ireland, Austria, and Croatia have vowed to fulfill the ICC’s request to arrest Putin, according to Business Insider.
Despite being a member of NATO and the E.U., Hungary has promised not to arrest Putin if he travels to the country.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned ICC’s decision by calling it “outrageous and unacceptable.”