Vladimir Putin's top commanders are ‘terrified’ by demands for a new offensive in Ukraine amid fears of a ‘mass slaughter', it has been claimed.
They fear yet more deaths among military personnel as a new analysis suggests the Kremlin has now lost a staggering total of more than 175,000 troops in the war.
Putin's demand for his war supremo General Valery Gerasimov to unleash “an assault in several directions at once” has evoked deep divisions in his high command.
Valery Solovey, former professor at Moscow’s prestigious Institute of International Relations, alleges Putin's plans for an attack on 'multiple fronts' has evoked deep divisions in his his top commanders.
On pro-opposition Khodorkovsky Live channel he said: "The Army General Staff is terrified by the instructions of the commander-in-chief [Putin].
“I am not exaggerating. They are horrified.
“They are afraid to lose the remaining armed forces in the slaughter that they are being dragged into by [Putin’s] order.”
"Yet they will obey Putin even though the senior commanders have given up hope for their 'goal of winning” the war.
Dr Solovey added: “Well, they saluted - ’As you wish, Your Highness, you’re the genius, you know it better than us, you started it all, and our job is to sort it out now’.”
“This [offensive] is all planned for February.”
And Gerasimov, a close ally of defence minister Sergei Shoigu, is the “most capable of Russian generals”.
Yet the top brass in the general staff “are afraid they won’t make it in time, because Ukraine might obtain new weapons - more dangerous, more modern, offensive [from the West].
“That’s why now is the last chance to try to strike Ukraine, but not with the goal of winning.
“This is very important to understand.
“There is no [longer] such goal at all. The goal is totally different - to end it in an honourable way.
“That is, to achieve peace... It’s about keeping a minimum of [Russian gains]
“That is Donbas, a part of new territories - not all of them, and to defend Crimea. They are not expecting more.”
His analysis is far from the public position of the Kremlin which insists Putin's military adventure is going according to plan.
This comes as Telegram channel General SVR suggests the “irretrievable military operational losses of manpower” in the Russian army is more than 126,500, a rise of more than 20,000 this month.
On top of this, there have been more than 44,000 killed in pro-Kremlin private military armies operating in Ukraine to support Putin’s illegal invasion.
If true, it means more than 10,000 lost in this month’s heavy fighting in private military companies - including Wagner, staffed by prisoners will be forced to fight for Putin.
In addition, more than 6,250 Russian national guards have been slain, states the channel.
The overall toll is put at 176,863 and he channel’s figures for war losses are routinely higher than other sources.