According to the Daily Mail, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior, disclosed on Twitter on Monday, March 27, that it is believed to be one of the “main negotiating topics” during the Putin-Xi summit But, if Putin loses power, his safety matters.
If Putin is deposed, the deal they struck would allow the Russian leader to flee to China and sign a “no-extradition agreement,” Glashenko said. That means Chinese authorities will not send him abroad to face trial on war crimes charges he committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The background of Putin’s search for a way out
Xi Jinping met with the Russian strongman in a high-profile visit to Moscow last week as Putin’s troops desperately continued what they called a “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russia’s official term for its invasion of Ukraine. The two claimed to be very friendly and promised a closer relationship.
Full details of their conversations during the summit have been largely unpublished, however, the meeting between Xi and Putin has been widely viewed as Western as well as Eastern nations such as the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and other NATO allies are united in support of Ukraine. It is a signal for the Chinese authorities to support Putin and challenge the United States.
Some analysts also interpreted the meeting as a testament to Xi’s greater power in the bilateral relationship, with Moscow relying on Beijing’s help to ease harsh Western sanctions on the Russian economy that it faced after launching the war of aggression.
More importantly, earlier this month, just three days before Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, the International Criminal Court issued a global arrest warrant that shocked the world, accusing Putin of committing war crimes of kidnapping Ukrainian children and illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russia . The announcement stated that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears personal criminal responsibility.
Resignation is not groundless: voices of dissatisfaction in Russia are rising, and global arrest warrants have become catalysts
Sir Geoffrey Nice, chief prosecutor in the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, told Sky News on 24 March that “enough information is coming out Show that someone is dissatisfied with his leadership.” “It matters because this man is now — and many would say he should be weeks after the war started — being branded a criminal.”
While public dissent in Russia is rare because of draconian anti-free speech laws, there have been reports of dissatisfaction with Putin’s leadership.
Russia’s stunning military defeat in Ukraine has led to a surge of dissent, especially among the country’s more hardline pro-war groups. While their anger tends to be directed more at the failed Russian general, other top military leaders such as Wagnerian mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadero Ramzan Kadyrov expressed their dissatisfaction with the progress of the war more directly.
“Daily Mail” pointed out that if Putin’s war trajectory in Ukraine continues to decline, discontent among the Russian elite will reach a boiling point, and Kremlin insiders or opportunists are likely to defect. This could cost Putin his status as supreme authority. A coordinated plan to dismantle Putin’s autocracy through political will and influence – as Presidents Gorbachev and Khrushchev before Putin were ousted – would likely come from Russia official power structure.
Following the announcement of Putin’s worldwide arrest warrant earlier this month, Sir Geoffrey said the ICC charges could hasten Putin’s downfall.
He stressed that the arrest warrant was “extremely important” and that Putin being “labeled a criminal and treated that way” would likely inspire regime change or “encourage a process of change”.
The “friendship” between the two is a question mark
The “Daily Mail” analyzed that in case he was deposed and was able to escape capture, Putin may seek to escape to a safe area abroad to avoid punishment at home. A conservation deal with Xi would make China an ideal destination for Putin.
But it was not clear from Glashenko’s tweets what Xi would expect from such a deal, nor did he speculate on what Putin would offer Xi in return.
“Daily Mail” stated that if Putin loses power, he will be regarded as a wanted man and will likely be regarded as useless in Beijing’s plot to conquer the world. This means that the relationship between them may not be as sweet as it seems on the surface, and Putin may also be abandoned by Xi Jinping.