British and US intelligence services have revealed Putin’s advisers are too afraid to tell him about any mistakes made in the invasion of Ukraine. The morale among Russian soldiers is low, with troops reportedly refusing to follow orders and even sabotaging their own equipment.
According to the Chief of British intelligence GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, the Russians have accidentally shot down one of their own fighter jets, with a sense of general chaos within the Russian army, which is facing several problems.
Fleming’s observations are in line with information released by US intelligence agencies in recent weeks, The New York Times reported. US intelligence services also claimed that Putin is being misinformed, as “his advisers are afraid to tell him the truth.”
“It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people,” Fleming said, adding that Putin also misjudged the Western response and the ability of his forces to deliver a rapid victory.
Alexey Muraviev, a national security expert at Australia’s Curtin University, said that high on the list of Putin’s miscalculations was his failure to gather accurate intelligence that portrays the “psychology” of the Ukrainian public, which has greatly turned against Moscow since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
- Russia uses banned landmines in Ukraine, says Human Rights Watch
- Fedasil launches recruitment drive to cope with influx of Ukrainians
- 'Peace is worth more than diamonds': Zelenskyy addresses Belgium's Parliament
His miscalculation has cost many Ukrainian lives, and ordinary Russians are starting to feel the consequences of Putin’s invasion, too. While many attempts were made to stop Russians from hearing the news of the setbacks, the global support for Ukraine is strong, as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is operating an effective information and diplomatic campaign.
“It all adds up to the strategic miscalculation that Western leaders warned Putin it would be. It’s become his personal war, with the cost being paid by innocent people in Ukraine and, increasingly, by ordinary Russians too,” Fleming said.
Left in the dark
Fleming said he believed that the failure to achieve a quick victory will be causing discord in the Kremlin. “ The extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime.”
Kate Bedingfield, Director of Communications at the White House, said: “We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership.”
Despite the heavy losses Russia has incurred in the past five weeks, Western officials and observers say Putin shows little sign of abandoning his war efforts.