Paranoid Putin using body double to avoid assassination after Ukraine invasion

Paranoid Vladimir Putin is ­using a body double to avoid ­being ­assassinated.

The Russian president fears military chiefs could stage a coup after he fired eight senior generals for their failure to ­capture Ukraine.

His lookalike has stood in for Mad Vlad at Kremlin meetings and is used as a decoy when the real Putin moves around.

He lives in the Presidential complex and has been trained to walk like the Russian leader.

Last night an intelligence source said: “We know Putin is paranoid about his security and this move just shows how seriously his team are taking the threat against his life.”

They added: “His close protection team make sure his food is checked, no one gets close to him without their ­approval. But the former chiefs of staff, generals and FSB operators will know the weak spots in the system.

“I would not be at all surprised if we hear in the next few months that Putin has died and the reason given will be a heart attack or a long-term illness. I doubt they will admit it was an ­internal coup”.

It is understood there is widespread concern among Russia ’s senior commanders about the direction of the war and the impact on the economy.

The Kremlin has admitted it has ­resulted in 15,000 Russian deaths.

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In the US, the White House head of ­communications Kate Bedingfield said: “We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military which has resulted in persistent tension ­between Putin and his military leadership.”

The news comes after ' Vladimir Putin 's best' fighters have suffered heavy losses during fierce fighting in Ukraine, it has been reported.

The 331st Guards Parachute Regiment is considered among the most fearsome and well-trained in the Russian army, having fought for the city of Ilovaisk in the Donbas in 2014.

However, the regiment's commanding officer, Col Sergei Sukharev and deputy Major Sergei Krylov were killed in Ukraine on March 13 – a major blow for any military unit.

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