Putin advisers ‘afraid to tell him truth’ over Ukraine
Sir Jeremy Fleming has said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a strategic miscalculation in launching the invasion of Ukraine and his advisers are ‘afraid to tell him the truth’ about his error.
Speaking in Australia, the head of GCHQ said that the Russian leader had misjudged the strength of Ukrainian resistance, the western response and the ability of his forces to deliver a rapid victory, which combine to make a ‘strategic miscalculation’ that was warned by western leaders.
US officials have previously argued that Putin was being misled by advisers who were too scared to tell him how poorly the war in Ukraine is going and how damaging western sanctions have been. Fleming has echoed this views, stating that the failure to achieve a quick victory must be causing discord in the Kremlin.
According to Fleming, there are also growing signs that Russian soldiers, ‘short of weapons and morale’, were ‘refusing to carry out orders and sabotaging their own equipment’.
The spy chief also warned China not to become ‘too closely aligned’ with Russia as the war continues. Fleming said that Putin has made a clear ‘strategic choice; to align with China before the fighting broke out, but that there remained underlying tensions between the two countries – and risks for both in trying to work together.