Russia: Anti-war protests grow as thousands sign letter to Putin
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Former army officer and chemical weapons expert Hamish De Bretton-Gordon told Express.co.uk that Putin’s biggest weakness is public opinion. He claimed that, as the Russian people “see more body bags” come home, they are likely to try and “get rid of him”. Mr De Bretton-Gordon said that the West is playing a “balancing game”, trying to wait for the Russian people to remove Putin “before we have to get more engaged”.
This comes as increasing numbers of Russian casualties are being reported.
The Ukrainian Army has estimated that 15,600 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting so far.
This figure would mean that more Russian soldiers have died in around a month of fighting than those that were killed during the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted for a decade.
Between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers are believed to have been killed, according to US estimates.
Mr De Bretton-Gordon, who is currently training Ukrainian citizens on how to survive a chemical attack, told Express.co.uk: “[Putin’s] biggest strategic weakness is the Russian people.
“And they are just starting to get an idea of what is happening in Ukraine and as they see more body bags come back, they will get rid of him.
“For us, in the West, it is a balancing game – can we let the Russian people know what’s happening so they get rid of him before we have to get more engaged?
“And can we do that before he goes chemical or nuclear?
“It’s finely balanced.
“In his derided mind he probably thinks he can get away with it.
“He thinks we’re weak.
“He thinks we’re not going to do anything.”
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He explained: “It’s the casualties that are his weakness.
“The Russian population are just getting to hear that they’re taking a couple of casualties.
“Those casualties are not in the tens or the fifties. They’re in the thousands.
“And once [the army] get into the cities they could exponentially rise.”
People across Russia have staged protests in opposition to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with thousands of people demonstrating in cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg.
However, according to independent human rights monitoring organisation OVD-Info, 14,219 people in 112 cities across Russia have been arrested for taking part in the protests since the start of the invasion on 24 February 2022.
Police have been seen using brute force on protesters, carrying them away from demonstrations and using truncheons and stun guns.
Mr De Bretton-Gordon has published the final chapter of his book “How to Survive a Chemical or Biological Attack” for free online, in order to help Ukrainian citizens understand how to keep themselves safe.
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