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After three weeks of bloodshed, is Putin’s endgame any clearer?.

Maria Yatsenko had spent a week travelling with her five children, father and grandmother when she arrived in the city of Lviv last week. The 34-year-old left behind her husband, just days before the Russian bombardments started to hit her home city of Dnipro in central Ukraine.

The family planned to continue their journey into Poland when they spoke to Irish Times correspondent Lara Marlowe at Lviv train station. Yatsenko’s 88-year-old grandmother Maya stood nearby, stooped over on a crutches, while her granddaughter expressed hope that the family would return to Dnipro someday. For Maya, this was the second evacuation during her lifetime – the first was in 1942 when she was evacuated to western Siberia.

“How could it be?” asked her granddaughter.

On today’s podcast, Lara Marlowe reports on the thousands of people passing through Lviv en route to Poland, while the Irish Times correspondent in Ukraine, Dan McLaughlin, reports on the growing fear among Ukrainians that Vladimir Putin may use chemical weapons in the conflict.

McLaughlin also discusses whether Putin could be toppled by Kremlin elites in response to his handling of the invasion over the past three weeks.

It’s believed someone in Putin’s broad circle of elite and with direct access, “could definitely try to take him out one way or another. . . an assassination attempt something like that,” said McLaughlin.

One former Russian deputy told McLaughlin he doesn’t think Putin will “live past the end of this year”, he added. “So many powerful people are losing so much so fast in Russia that it has to be something that we take into consideration.

“We might be at the beginning of a very long and costly war, costly in all ways. And already we’re seeing the potential for cracks in the elite. Already, it looks like Putin is not taking everyone with him.”

Today on the podcast we ask, after three weeks of bloodshed in Ukraine, is Putin’s endgame any clearer?

In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.Listen to the podcast here:
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