Putin and his high command ‘are already hunkering in secret bunkers’ – after Kremlin spokesman said Russia would use nukes in face of ‘existential threat’
- Flight tracking info suggests Putin may be in a hideaway near Surgut, in Siberia
- Defence minister Sergei Shoigu is believed to be in a bunker in Ufa, in the Urals
- Use of bunkers would be alarming as they suggest nuclear option is on the table
By WILL STEWART
PUBLISHED: 08:02 EDT, 29 March 2022 | UPDATED: 12:42 EDT, 29 March 2022
Movements of planes used by top Kremlin officials show Putin may be in a hideaway near Surgut, in western Siberia, it has been claimed.
His defence minister Sergei Shoigu – who has been mysteriously absent for several weeks, sparking rumours about his health – is believed to be in a bunker near Ufa in the Urals, 725 miles east of Moscow, according to investigative journalist Christo Grozev.
This theory is backed up by his daughter Ksenia Shoigu, 31, visiting Ufa for an estimated three days from March 22, with mounting speculation the defence minister is suffering from heart problems.
She also abruptly barred public access to her Instagram where she had posed with her baby in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine.
The suspected use of the high security nuclear bunkers is concerning as it leads to suggestions Putin may be prepared to deploy nuclear weapons, a move that would lead to inevitable reprisals.
Vladimir Putin and defence minister Sergei Shougi at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, in 2019. Both may now be operating the Ukraine war from bunkers, flight tracking information suggests
Investigative journalist suspects Putin based in bunker near Surgut
Investigative journalist Christo Grozev (pictured centre), believes there is enough evidence to suggest Putin and his highest ranking commanders are operating out of bunkers in eastern Russia
Movements of planes used by top Kremlin officials show Putin may be in a hideaway near Surgut in western Siberia, it is claimed. Meanwhile his defence minister Sergei Shoigu – who has been mysteriously absent for several weeks, sparking rumours about his health – is believed to be in a bunker near Ufa in the Urals
Putin officials warn he ‘has the right’ to use devastating nuclear weapons
Just hours after another Kremlin spokesman warned of possible atomic war, Dmitry Polyanskiy sparked further fears by hinting there would be a seismic response a to any direct involvement in the conflict from the West.
‘If Russia is provoked by NATO, if Russia is attacked by NATO… we are a nuclear power, why not?’ he told Sky News at the UN in New York.
‘I don’t think it’s the right thing to be saying. But it’s not the right thing to threaten Russia, and to try to interfere.
‘So when you’re dealing with a nuclear power, of course, you have to calculate all the possible outcomes of your behaviour.’
The top diplomat also continued to dismiss claims that Kremlin forces have carried out war crimes, and suggested evidence of Ukrainian cities being destroyed by Russian missiles was ‘fake news’.
‘We said from the very beginning, that our military is not a threat for the civilian population Ukraine,’ he added.
It came after Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also refused a day earlier to rule out using nuclear weapons, claiming Russian doctrine allows the President to use such force to see off ‘existential threat’.
Peskov was asked three times on CNN whether he could definitively rule out the possibility of the Russian leader pushing the button – and three times refused to give a straight answer.
Grozev – who has links to British investigative outlet Bellingcat – said: ‘I am absolutely sure that Shoigu is in a bunker.
‘Tracking the movement of his plane, we see very frequent flights to Ufa.
‘Knowing that there are also protected bunkers in this region, this gives an obvious answer about his place of residence.’
In an interview with Ukraine-24 channel, he told TV anchor Yevgeny Kiselyov: ‘This is our very justified version.
‘I believe in it, and I consider it to be a purely analytical conclusion. There can’t be any other conclusion.
‘If the Kremlin’s war strategy assumes a nuclear strike – and it does – as [Dmitry] Peskov [Putin’s spokesman] himself said on CNN a couple of days ago, then there cannot be any other version.
‘If there is a decision of a potential nuclear strike, they can’t hide the military leadership afterwards.
‘They have to be hidden beforehand.
‘I am absolutely certain he is in a so-called bunker, and by trailing the plane he usually flies, we see very frequent, almost daily flights to Ufa.
‘Knowing this region has those very protected bunkers this leads us to the obvious conclusion. ‘
He believes Putin has another bunker elsewhere.
‘Most likely he is elsewhere, because we are seeing other flights, and they are more classified than the flight that goes to Ufa.
‘These are state planes, and they switch off their transponders somewhere around Surgut.’
This is Russia’s oil capital and is some 1,800 miles northeast of Moscow.
‘It looks like the final phase is quite secretive, and most likely there is a more elite bunker there, with the elite of the government.’
Previously there have been claims Putin had moved his close relatives to a bunker in the Altai Mountains, some 1,100 miles southeast of Surgut and 2,360 miles east of Moscow.
Grozev also suggested that Russia’s Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, is operating from a bunker.
Coincidentally, the defence minister’s daughter Ksenia Shoigu seems to have been in Ufa between March 22 and 25.
Defence minister Sergei Shoigu (pictured) – who has been mysteriously absent for several weeks, sparking rumours about his health – is believed to be in a bunker near Ufa in the Urals, 725 miles east of Moscow, according to investigative journalist Christo Grozev
Movements of planes used by top Kremlin officials show Putin may be in a hideaway near Surgut in western Siberia, it is claimed. (Pictured: Abandoned Soviet bunker in Surgut) Russian professor claims Putin has hidden family in nuclear bunker
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