Biden warns Putin may be preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine
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The war in Ukraine has surpassed three weeks now. The UN has said ten million people have fled their homes and at least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured.

Experts have suggested that Ukraine could win the war if they can maintain its capital city, though if Russia ruled many other territories, that would be bad for Ukraine.

If president Volodymyr Zelensky held on to Kyiv, it "would be presented as something of a victory, because the general consensus before the war was that the Russian campaign would be quick," said Katie Laatikainen, political science professor at Adelphi University (NY).

"Control over Kyiv is an important symbol for both sides," added Peter Rutland, professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut."

But in the same instance, what would happen if Vladimir Putin was removed from power?

According to Former US National Security Council official and prominent Russia expert Fiona Hill, Putin is "not looking so great".

"There seems to be an urgency for this (invasion) that may be also driven by personal factors," she said.

"He may have a sense that time is marching on — (he has been in office for) 22 years, after all, and the likelihood after that kind of time of a Russian leader leaving voluntarily or through elections is pretty slim."

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On the one hand – and in what most experts predict as most likely – the Russian leader could hold onto his presidency throughout the conflict.

The next election isn't until 2024, though Russian elections have been said to be fraudulent in the past. In 2020 Putin extended term limits to ensure he could extend his presidency without breaking any laws.

However, it has been suggested that Putin could lose his grasp on power. Though experts speculate he wouldn't be removed (willingly) from power, it would be through assassination.

Nikolai Petrov, senior research fellow at UK-based think tank Chatham house told news.com.au: "The closest to Putin is the so-called Federal Protective Service, which is deliberately designed to protect the president and his office. They are in close co-operation with the FSB (the successor to the KGB),"

"I believe that if there is an assassination attempt, that might come from a female. Maybe a member of his family, his mistress, his daughter, his ex-wife – somebody who knows him and could actually get close to him," he said.

"The possibility (of assassination) is increasing."

He also noted that the war against Ukraine is "the first time in Putin's Russia that there have been so many individual and collective protests against Kremlin actions."

"But public support for the Kremlin's military adventure, which is far from unconditional even now, will decline rapidly and steadily as the high price becomes clear, both in human lives and the complete upending of normal life by the state," he added.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

  • To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
  • To sign the petition click here.
  • If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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