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Former KGB officer Putin’s intelligence failures hold Russia back as Ukraine fights for freedom and democracy


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Russian President Vladimir Putin had a long career as an intelligence officer in the former Soviet Union’s KGB – the former communist spy agency – and likely went to great lengths to plan his invasion of Russia. Ukraine before sending thousands of troops to the country earlier this week.

But US and UK intelligence analysts say Russia appears to have underestimated Ukraine’s defensive capabilities – at least initially.

Russia’s stalled advance could be due to faulty or ignored intelligence, according to Dan Hoffman, a former senior CIA officer and station chief. But it is impossible for anyone outside the Kremlin to know for sure, he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a long career as an intelligence officer in the former Soviet Union’s KGB – the former communist spy agency – and likely went to great lengths to plan his invasion of Russia. Ukraine before sending thousands of troops to the country earlier this week.
(Yuri Kochetkov/Pool)

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“Is Russia surprised by all of this? Yes,” he told Fox News Digital on Saturday. “As a result, they didn’t do a great job of collecting the intelligence they needed. And that’s quite humiliating, because Ukraine is on their border and they were occupying parts of it.”

Putin invaded Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and backed separatists in two other eastern parts of the country, a regional collective known as Donbass, and he said he would recognize them as independent republics in the days before the full invasion of Ukraine.

“Why did Vladimir Putin do this?” He asked. “He should have known these things – but he didn’t.”

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armored vehicle, which they say belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2022.

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armored vehicle, which they say belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2022.
(Reuters/Maksim Levine)

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Hoffman predicted in 2019 that Putin’s long-term goal “is the destruction of Ukraine as a state.”

‘Putin does not want a successful democracy alongside serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration for his own domestic opponents, who are denied basic civil liberties,’ he wrote at the time, along with Sir Nicholas Soames , a former United Kingdom defender. Minister.

And Putin could have been planning this destruction for two decades, he said.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, with Putin saying the move was a defensive move amid threats from Ukraine. The White House warned earlier this month that US intelligence predicted the invasion on fabricated grounds.

Surveillance footage shows a missile hitting a residential building in Kiev, Ukraine, February 26, 2022, in this still image taken from video.

Surveillance footage shows a missile hitting a residential building in Kiev, Ukraine, February 26, 2022, in this still image taken from video.
(Reuters)

During the first three days of the conflict, Russia failed to establish air superiority over its smaller neighbor.

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But analysts have said Putin will not back down – and they expect him to step up attacks to tear down Ukraine’s defences.

Before dawn on the fourth day, a Russian missile strike blew up a civilian oil depot in Vasilkov, about 24 miles south of Kiev, according to Ukrainian MP Anna Purtova.

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She called it an “ecological disaster” and called on the United States and the European Union to close the skies above her country.

Hours later, another infrastructure attack destroyed a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, a major Ukrainian city near the border with Russia where the invaders had met fierce resistance.

Civilian volunteers check their weapons at a territorial defense unit registration office on February 26, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Civilian volunteers check their weapons at a territorial defense unit registration office on February 26, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Ukraine has put up a valiant defense in the face of overwhelming force – but few experts expect that to deter Putin, who has a larger army and more resources available. Attacks on infrastructure may intensify to overwhelm resistance.

On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky refused a US evacuation offer, calling on Western powers to step up aid instead.

“The fight is here,” he said, according to a translation of his remarks. “I need ammunition, not a round.”

The Russian president has extensive intelligence-gathering experience and has ruled the country since 2000 – with a term hiatus from 2008 to 2012 due to term limits.

Ukrainian soldiers take position outside a military installation as two cars burn, on a street in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, February 26, 2022. Russian troops stormed the Ukrainian capital on Saturday and fighting Street protests erupted as city officials urged residents to take shelter.  .

Ukrainian soldiers take position outside a military installation as two cars burn, on a street in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, February 26, 2022. Russian troops stormed the Ukrainian capital on Saturday and fighting Street protests erupted as city officials urged residents to take shelter. .
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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The Russian leader graduated from Leningrad State University in the mid-1970s and joined the KGB, where he became an intelligence officer and rose through the ranks.

He spent much of his career in Soviet-controlled East Germany and after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s he became head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the agency that succeeded the KGB.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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