Vladimir Putin could be killed by his own allies before he has the chance to launch a nuclear attack, according to an expert as key members of the army say Russia's huge mobilisation drive is a “fatal mistake."
The warmonger said the West was plotting to destroy his country and he accused countries of encouraging Ukraine to push military operations into Russia itself.
Putin said he had weapons to reply to Western threats.
The Russian President also confirmed the implementation of partial military mobilisation - assembling and preparing civilians to become troops for active service.
Professor Peter Duncan at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) told Express.co.uk that Putin was "isolated from reality" and if he attempted to pull the nuclear trigger he would probably be killed.
If Putin wanted to order a military strike he would have to go through Sergei Shoigu, Russia's Minister of Defence and Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
"I think that if Putin did begin to use nuclear weapons, it's entirely likely that [Shoigu and Gerasimov] would refuse and then they would have to move against Putin and kill him", Professor Duncan said.
He continued: "Because they would be disobeying an order. Not that it is that easy to kill Putin, they'd have to get the people in the FSB to help them kill Putin."
The high-ranked critics told Putin they do not have “sufficient” weapons and warned of a “complete lack of motivation of the troops” who fail to understand the reason for occupying Ukraine, it was claimed on the General SVR Telegram Channel.
The Telegram Channel is apparently run by a former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) lieutenant general and counters Russian information with intel from inside the Kremlin.
By mobilising ill-trained reservists Putin was making a "fatal mistake" leading to “a huge number of victims” which will “not help in achieving the goals” in his obsessive bid to neuter Ukraine.
Deepening the “military confrontation” will not “only lead to hundreds of thousands of victims among the Russian military” but also “put the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe”, said the account by the channel, although there was no independent verification of the claim.
He should “show wisdom” and go back to the negotiating table, the military figures supposedly told him.
It continued: “Only a few people have the courage to express a position that runs counter to….the president and everyone, without exception, understands that Putin, by burning [his] bridges, leads to a nuclear war.”
Putin was reported not to have responded to the appeal from his critics who he privately accuses of “confusion and vacillation”.
There are longstanding suggestions that Putin has bypassed the normal command structure including defence minister Sergei Shoigu and plots military tactics with his favourite generals.