A high ranking member of Vladimir Putin's personal protective service, who set up secure communications for Putin, did not just defect on a work trip to Kazakhstan about four months ago; soon after he went into hiding, he criticized Putin on video to journalists.
"I consider this man a war criminal. Although I did not participate specifically in these military activities, I do not consider it possible for me to carry out his criminal orders or even to be in his service," Russian defector Gleb Karakulov told London-based investigative group the Dossier Center, which is funded by Russian billionaire and Putin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
"We're really worried about his safety. We've been waiting for four months until we could release these interviews," said Ilya Rozhdestvenskii, a Dossier Center reporter.
Rozhdestvenskii says Karakulov told him that Putin pretends to fly on planes, but that he actually travels in a nondescript but armored train, equipped with a special communications system. That's because Putin is very fearful that he could be tracked.
Rozhdestvenskii also says that despite rumors of Putin being ill, the Russian president remains healthy. "There were just one or two business trips that were canceled because Putin got ill. So if you are ill for two times in 13 years, probably, you're a very, very healthy person ... Putin, as Karakulov told us, has regular checkups every year. So he is in a better condition than anybody of his age is."
Karakulov left Russia without telling his parents, who supported the war in Ukraine. His wife and daughter fled with him. He told Rozhdestvenskii not to ask about foreign intelligence services who may approach him, according to Rozhdestvenskii.
Intelligence sources say that wherever Karakulov has sought asylum, he will be talking to that country's intelligence services — and receiving protection as Russia tries to hunt him down.
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