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Putin replaced 1,000 personal staff members in February over fears they would poison him, report says

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing
Vladimir Putin.Alexei Druzhinin/Getty Images
  • Putin replaced 1,000 personal staff members in February over fears they would poison him.

  • The Daily Beast reported that those sacked included bodyguards, cooks, launderers, and secretaries.

  • A French agent said an attempted assassination would come from within the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced about 1,000 personal staff members in February over fears that they would poison him, a report said.

Those sacked included bodyguards, cooks, launderers, and secretaries, The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday, citing a Russian government source.

February was marked by US and Western officials repeatedly warning that Russia was preparing to stage a pretext to justify waging war against Ukraine after it spent months gathering troops along their shared border.

As much of the world has condemned Russia's ongoing bombardment of Ukraine, an operative for France's General Directorate for External Security told The Daily Beast that carrying out an attempted assassination of Putin "is on every intelligence agency's design table."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has even called for Putin's assassination, drawing criticism from fellow Republican lawmakers.

"The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out," Graham tweeted earlier in March. "You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service."

The operative told The Daily Beast that an attempted assassination wouldn't be the job of a foreign government.

"The attempt will be from within the Kremlin," the operative said. "Russian intelligence is likely the only one left that deploys poison as a default" to assassinate people.

Poison as a killing tool is not unheard of in Russia. Alexei Navalny, the prominent Kremlin critic, was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok in Siberia in August 2020, and Putin has been widely accused of ordering the attack.

Read the original article on Business Insider