Vladimir Putin Will Be Killed by His Own Inner Circle, Zelensky Predicts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will eventually be killed by his own inner circle of close allies.

Zelensky's comments originated from the documentary, Year, that was produced by journalist Dmytro Komarov and released on Friday to coincide with the one year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian president predicted that a time of "fragility" in Putin's leadership will eventually come, prompting his allies to act against him.

"There will certainly be a moment when the fragility of Putin's regime is felt in Russia," Zelensky said. "Then carnivores will eat the carnivore. It is very important, and they will need a reason to justify this. They will recall the words of Komarov, of Zelenskyy...They will remember. They will find a reason to kill the killer. Will it work? Yes. When? I don't know."

Reports of supposed frustrations among Putin's inner circle have been frequent in recent months, as the war in Ukraine has continued to drag on with the Russian army suffering historically catastrophic losses and a definitive victory for either side nowhere in sight. In December, The Washington Post reported that the Russian president's closest allies were growing increasingly frustrated with him, speculating that has no idea what he is doing and no solid plan moving forward in Ukraine.

putin killed by inner cirlce zelensky
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently predicted that Putin will be done in by his own allies during a time of weakness. Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Particular frustrations mentioned in the report centered on Putin's decision to cancel his annual New Year's Eve State of the State address, with the report finding speculation that the tradition was called off due to the fact that he would have no positive news to give about Ukraine and no plans to share. The address is typically a long and thorough affair, with a speech before the Russian Federal Assembly followed by an hours-long meeting with the press.

Speculation from intelligence experts has often highlighted the likelihood that Putin will be ousted by his inner circle. Speaking with The Daily Beast over the summer, former CIA official Daniel Hoffman said that Putin's ousting by his allies would be an abrupt and covert move.

"These guys that are going to do it are going to be so secret about it, so that Putin doesn't find them and kill them first," Hoffman explained. "It'll happen all of a sudden. And he'll be dead."

The Kremlin has never addressed the persistent rumors of discontent among Putin's close allies, though it has maintained a positive outlook on its invasion of Ukraine.

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.