A top Ukrainian official has suggested Vladimir Putin could be left “fighting for his life” in the political sphere if he suffers further setbacks or loses the war.
The Russian President launched the invasion into the neighbouring country nine months ago but his frontline troops have struggled to overcome defiant Ukrainian forces in recent weeks with heavy losses and a withdrawal from the last city it held.
President Putin’s soldiers had to retreat from the southern city of Kherson to save the lives of its dwindling army and difficulties keeping supply lines open.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Kherson’s liberation sent alarms through the Kremlin that victory was slipping away from Russia.
“(Putin) is very afraid because there is no forgiveness in Russia for tsars who lose wars,” he told British publication The Times.
“He is fighting for his life now. If he loses the war, at least in the minds of Russians, it means the end. The end of him as a political figure. And possibly in the physical sense.”
Mr Arestovich also added the obstacles Moscow has faced is also leading to those who are “very loyal” to President Putin to “doubt they can win this war”.
The latest remarks come after President Zelensky suggested in August that the Russian leader only had one thing to fear: his life.
He argued the dictator’s life depended on whether he will be threatened by his residents, with some growing tired of the ongoing war, which has led to oligarchs and other high-profile Russian figures being heavily sanctioned by other countries.
“This person has no other fear but the fear for his life,” the Ukrainian leader said.
Russian soldiers have been forced to revert to its deadly tactics of bombing cities and its critical civilian infrastructure, such as power stations, to cripple Ukraine.
Alarms sounded across the country on Wednesday morning when missiles were launched, with the capital of Kyiv struck by a number of projectiles.
Six people were confirmed dead and the number of those injured was unknown as emergency services rushed to various scenes in search of survivors.
A subsequent missile attack on Ukraine’s last three operational nuclear plants on the same day also plunged half of nearby country Moldova into darkness.
One day earlier, an attack on a maternity hospital in the town of Vilniansk in Zaporizhzhia killed a two-day old baby, while its mother survived after being rescued.
The local mayor said the mother was in “shock” and requested to go home.
The World Health Organisation revealed this week it had verified 703 attacks on health facilities, which is a breach of international law.
The European Parliament also declared Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” on Wednesday (local time) as it had committed war crimes.