HUMILIATED Vladimir Putin will miss the G20 summit summit because he fears being assassinated, according to one pro-Kremlin commentator.
Posting hours after Russian troops were forced into a humiliating retreat in Kherson, Markov wrote: “1) There is a big possibility of an assassination attempt on Putin from the special services of the US, Britain and Ukraine.
“2) A possibility of humiliating situations. For example, some disabled social activist knocks Putin down – as if accidentally – and all world media splash a picture with a caption ‘President of Russia is down on all fours’.
“I am certain this kind of situation is being planned by some completely mad Westerners.
“3. After defeat in Kherson, Russia’s status as a great state is questionable. They will be putting pressure on, and demand soft capitulation.”
Markov is among a growing chorus of voices lambasting the regime over its latest military setback.
“If Russia wants to win, we must switch the economy into a military regime,” he said.
“This decision is already six months late. We have got to be tougher. Tougher.
“Drones, communication, missiles and shells must be produced by our factories 24/7.”
It comes as Putin supporters unleash their anger at the Kremlin over its latest battlefield setback.
Anastasia Kashevarova – a die-hard Putin supporter and war correspondent – raged at “who and why” was Kherson surrendered.
“We bit a huge bite, couldn’t swallow it and are burping it back now. We burped out Izyum, Balakleya, Liman. What was the great plan?” she posted.
“And anyway, what does a ‘Victory’ mean to us all? What should we do? What results must we achieve? Where should we reach so that it’s clear – this is it, this is the Victory?
“No-one knows. I think they don’t know about it in the Kremlin and nor in the Ministry of Defence.”
Sergey Mardan, war analyst for Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, warned: “The Special Military Operation ends today with the retreat from the Russian city of Kherson. And the long war begins. Trust me, it will be long.”
Meanwhile, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the pro-Russian Vostok Battalion in the Donbas, said he know about the final decision to retreat for “at least two weeks”.
He said: “I knew, and a narrow circle of military people around me knew. I’ll tell you honestly – it was not easy to live with this knowledge.
“It is hard, difficult and bitter, I want to say a lot of sharp words, but [it won’t help].”
Tensions also seems to be a boiling point among Putin’s ardent supporters.
The Kremlin’s propagandist-in-chief Vladimir Solovyov hit back at critics who questioned the withdrawal saying that if they had nothing positive to say then they should “just shut up”.
He admitted Russia was now at “a difficult moment”.
And state run media outlets like RT and Sputnik have been hit by a wave of hostile comments criticising Putin and his commanders over the retreat and other war failures.
It comes as America’s top general claimed that more than 100,000 Russian troops had either been killed or wounded in Ukraine.
He said Kyiv “probably” suffered a similar level of casualties.
There are real fears Putin’s men could be laying a trap for Ukrainian fighters in Kherson.
Mykhailo Podolyak, one of President Zelensky’s advisors, believes Russia could actually be sending in reinforcements.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he tweeted. “Ukraine will liberate territories based on intelligence data, not staged TV statements.”
Oleksiy Arestovych, another senior advisor, said Russian forces appeared to be leaving the region “but not as much as would be taking place if it was a full pull-out or regrouping”.
Ukraine’s generals said that Russian troops dressed in civilian clothes were being position in houses across Kherson and are preparing for street battles.
There were claims by Ukrainian officials that films crews were spotted entering the southern city in preparation of staged attacks to make it look as if Kyiv’s forces were killing innocent civilians.
Kyiv fears Putin’s goons may blow up a dam upstream from the city, causing floods and destroying the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
It comes as Russia says it’s ready to sit at the negotiating table with Ukraine.
Maria Zakharova, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said: “We are still open to negotiations. We have never refused them. We are ready to conduct them, of course, taking into account the current state of affairs.”