The intense fighting around Bakhmut has been the longest and bloodiest in Russia's more than year-long invasion of Ukraine


  • Anton Gerashchenko suggested the war in Ukraine would end if Vladimir Putin dies
  • He said experts believe Putin's potential successors would be forced to end hostilities and negotiate with Ukraine
  • Gerashchenko said the incursion of pro-Ukraine fighters to Belgorod "demotivated" Russian citizens

A leading Ukrainian security issues specialist suggested that the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin could be the "best scenario for the fastest end" of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with Kyiv Post, Anton Gerashchenko, a former deputy minister and current official adviser at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, said he thinks "the best thing" that could happen in the ongoing war is that "Putin suffers a stroke."

"In my opinion, the best scenario for the fastest end of the war is the death of Putin," he told the outlet.

Gerashchenko noted that experts from the analytical center Ukrainian Institute for the Future believe there is a "90% probability" that if the Russian president dies, any successor of Putin would be "forced to stop any military actions, negotiate with Ukraine about compensation, and return all the occupied territories" to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian adviser did not discount that Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin's close ally and the founder of the Wagner paramilitary group, could assume power in the event of the Russian president's death.

"This is the person who can become Rasputin for Russia. He can become the one who succeeds Putin. Then the war would continue," Gerashchenko said. "So, the physical liquidation of Prigozhin, which our Armed Forces are trying to do, will also facilitate a quick end of this war."

Gerashchenko argued that Prigozhin has laid "the foundations for [a revolution in Russia] because [of] his criticism" of the top Russian military officials, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov.

Gerashchenko also reacted to the recent incursion of pro-Ukraine volunteer fighters into Russian territory.

The Ukrainian security issues specialist claimed that the incident was a "complete shock for the entire Russian information space from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad" and that the entire adult Russian population was "very demotivated" following the alleged temporary occupation of villages in the Belgorod region by the pro-Ukraine fighters.

He suggested that Russians saw that their country, "which was built on the myth that Putin is wise, strong and invincible, that they were building the best country, was a fake."

A group of Russian volunteers who call themselves the Free Russia Legion claimed responsibility for the incursion, The New York Times reported. Kyiv publicly denied direct involvement.

Gerashchenko also drew parallels between the current situation in Russia to the events in 1917 by comparing Putin to Tsar Nicholas II, who "completely lost touch with reality and constantly made wrong decisions."

On Sunday, Russia launched a barrage of air strikes on Ukraine's capital of Kyiv amid the celebration of the city's founding anniversary, killing one civilian and injuring two others.

According to Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv's military administration, the Sunday attack appeared to be the largest drone attack on the city since the start of Russia's invasion in February 2022. Popko added that Russia used the Iranian-made Shahed drones in attacking the Ukrainian capital.

On whether South Africa would arrest Putin, Ramaphosa said 'that matter is under consideration'