Kremlin insiders reportedly fear Russian President Vladimir Putin could resort to using nuclear bombs in the war against Ukraine.
The concerns have been raised as some of the country’s elite believe that the invasion was a catastrophic mistake.
Bloomberg has reported that nearly eight weeks into the invasion, a small but growing number of senior Kremlin insiders are questioning the decision to go to war.
They even echoed fears of US intelligence officials that Putin could turn to the limited use of nuclear bombs if faced with failure of a campaign he believes historic and vital for Russia.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to give a direct answer to repeated questions about whether Russia would use nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine, on Tuesday.
The media outlet reported that a number of the senior Kremlin insiders thought the invasion had been a catastrophic mistake.
Insiders feared the invasion could set the country back years and so far, there has reportedly been no sign that Putin has my intention of changing course or any prospect of a challenge to his power in Russia.
Any attempts to warn Putin off of the costs of the war have reportedly been dismissed out of hand as well as the president has become increasingly reliant on a shrinking circle of hardline advisers.
Despite the critics internally, the majority of the Kremlin and Russia’s elite still supports Putin’s efforts.
As well as that, public backing for the war remains strong and despite western sanctions there is stability in Russia.
In spite of all of this, a growing number of insiders Bloomberg spoke to believe Putin’s commitment to the war will doom Russia and isolate it for years to come with a crippled economy, lack of global influence and compromised security.
Most powerful players are far too afraid to openly speak out but a few business leaders have made veiled comments questioning the strategy the Kremlin has pursued so doggedly.
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Russia was left surprised by the speed and breadth of the western response and sanctions, including freezing half of its central banks reserves and its support to Kyiv.
But, despite this Putin reportedly brushed off any warnings and admitted Russia would pay a huge cost to the war but had no alternative, and that its economy would eventually adapt.
The insiders said the president was confident the public would remain behind the war effort and would endure whatever sacrifice needed.
Putin is determined to push on with the war effort, even if the aim of conquering Ukraine is reduced to a gruelling bloody battle for the Donbas region in the east.
In the weeks since the invasion began on February 24, Putin’s inner circle of advisers has shrunk dramatically from an already limited group, two people told the site.