Putin’s advisers mislead Russian leader over Ukraine’s wartime status, UK intel says – POLITICO

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being lied to by his advisers about the performance of Russian forces in Ukraine as Moscow’s military offensive flounders, according to new assessments from British and American intelligence agencies.

Speaking to the Australian National University on Thursday, Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, Britain’s intelligence, cybersecurity and security agency, said: “We believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, what happens and the extent of those misjudgments must be crystal clear. clear to the regime.

Fleming added that Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine turned out to be a huge miscalculation and that he had “overestimated” the capability of the Russian military.

“It seems increasingly that Putin has massively misjudged the situation. It is clear that he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition that his actions would galvanize. He downplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. He overestimated his army’s abilities to secure a quick victory,” Fleming said.

The director of British intelligence went on to say that Russia’s military leadership had descended into chaos and Putin’s campaign was “beset by problems – low morale, logistical failures and high Russian casualty tolls.” Their command and control is in chaos.

He added that Russian soldiers mutinied: “We saw Russian soldiers – low in weapons and low in morale – refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.”

Fleming criticized Putin’s disinformation campaign that targets free speech in Russia: “We’ve seen Putin lie to his own people in an attempt to hide military incompetence,” adding “and all of that means he’s looking for to brutally control and access the media”. to the Internet, it seeks to silence the voices of the opposition and it invests heavily in their propaganda and their secret agencies.

Fleming was cautious about Russia’s real willingness to scale back some of its attacks, as Russian negotiators in Istanbul announced on Tuesday.

“This week, the Russian MOD publicly stated that they would drastically reduce combat operations around Kyiv and a northern city. It looks like they were forced to make a significant change. But then they launched attacks in these two places. Mixed messages or deliberate disinformation – we will have to see how that plays out,” he said.

The revelation continues the Western strategy of declassifying intelligence in order to expose the inner workings of the Kremlin. American and British intelligence agencies repeatedly released sensitive information both before the war and after the invasion. “It is already a remarkable feature of this conflict to see how much intelligence was so quickly declassified to forestall Putin’s actions. In my view, intelligence is only worth collecting if we use it, so I wholeheartedly welcome this development,” Fleming said.

Across the Atlantic, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield shared Britain’s assessment and said: “We believe Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about the poor performance of the Russian military and how the Russian economy is doing. paralyzed by sanctions because his top advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth. Bedingfield added that it was “increasingly clear” that the war had been a “strategic error” that would weaken him in the long run.


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