According to retired CIA analyst Larry Johnson, the disgruntlement among troops on the eastern front in Ukraine could lead to a military coup against President Vladimir Zelensky. Johnson made this prediction in an interview with Redacted host Clayton Morris. He argued that the failure of Ukraine’s grand offensive in Zaporozhye, which was launched in early June with Western-trained troops and NATO-supplied tanks and armored vehicles, has caused frustration among the military. The offensive has failed to achieve a breakthrough, leading to additional brigades being deployed to continue frontal attacks. The US and its allies have publicly expressed their frustrations with Ukrainian tactics.
Johnson is not the only analyst who has speculated about the potential for a military coup in Ukraine. Former US Marine officer Scott Ritter also suggested that the likelihood of a coup is increasing with each destroyed Ukrainian brigade. Ritter compared the situation to the Kerensky moment in 1917 when the military turned against the government. He also referenced a Politico article that outlined who would run Ukraine if Zelensky were assassinated. However, Ritter argued that Russia has no intention of targeting Zelensky because his replacement might be even more hardline.
There are growing concerns about Ukraine’s survival as a country. Johnson emphasized that Ukraine is heavily dependent on the West and its needs will continue to increase while its capabilities shrink. He criticized the US strategy for the conflict, which aimed to trap Russia in an unwinnable war and induce regime change in Moscow. Instead, Johnson believes that Ukraine will be the one to experience regime change, and the US will have to figure out how to withdraw from the conflict. He argued that the US has underestimated Russia’s economic and military strength.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed similar concerns about Ukraine’s Western patrons. He argued that they are publicly committed to fighting for Ukraine but have a history of abandoning their allies and proxies, citing examples such as South Vietnam and Ashraf Ghani’s regime in Afghanistan in 2021.
Zelensky himself has voiced fears about being abandoned by the West if Ukraine goes too far in attacking Russia. He has proposed holding the 2024 presidential election but has demanded funding from the West to do so. His aide, Mikhail Podolyak, has argued that the US and its allies have given their blessing for attacks on “occupied territories,” including Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson. However, Moscow considers these regions to be Russian territory since Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in 2014 and the four regions followed suit last September.
In conclusion, the discontent among Ukraine’s military could potentially lead to a military coup against President Zelensky. The failure of Ukraine’s offensive in Zaporozhye and the frustrations with Ukrainian tactics have heightened concerns about the country’s survival. Analysts, including Larry Johnson and Scott Ritter, have warned about the possibility of regime change in Ukraine. There are also concerns about the dependence of Ukraine on the West and the potential for abandonment by its Western patrons. The situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, and it remains uncertain how the conflict will unfold in the coming weeks and months.