Russian President Vladimir Putin is Belarus for talks with one of his few remaining allies, autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko, as his war effort in Ukraine falters badly. The visit comes as talk of coup have been been building in Moscow, according to multiple top Russian journalists.

According to new reports, some of the Russian leader’s most trusted aides may be the very ones conspiring to overthrow him. Sergei Lavrov, Putin’s foreign minister, is said to be despondent over the state of the war.  

Numerous reports have claimed that Putin is suffering from ill health. Some observers believe the strongman has a form of cancer which has caused him to look bloated in recent months.

Evgeny Progozhin, an oligarch sometimes called “Putin’s Chef” and founder of a mercenary group, The Wagner Group, is reported to be one of the war’s top critics. Noted Russia expert Julia Ioffe has suggested that Progozhin may be willing to initiate a plot to oust Putin once and for all.

Proggozhin may be facing pressure from his own men.

Christo Grozev, an investigative journalist for Bellingcat, has talked about his experiences with Wagner Group’s mercenaries. “They’re telling me, ‘We’re wondering if we should just lay down our arms because we’ve been turned into cannon fodder and go to Moscow?’ That’s in their thought process already.”

Grozev said that the new year will be important in what may be to come. “This pressure cooker has to explode in one direction or another. Either it will be a bloody revolution or something else,” he tweeted.

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