“Continuing tensions” are said to have grown between the Russian military leadership and President Vladimir Putin, who, according to US intelligence services, feels misled after repeated setbacks in Ukraine.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said the government has “information” about the split between Putin and his advisers, but has not presented the underlying evidence of the claim.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how poorly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” she told the White House’s daily briefing.
“So it is becoming increasingly clear that Putin’s war has been a strategic blunder, which in the long run has weakened Russia and left it increasingly isolated from the world stage.”
Her comments reflect previously anonymous reporting by US officials, who said there was an apparent glitch in the flow of accurate information to the Kremlin.
“Putin didn’t even know his army was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine,” the official told The hill†
While Joe Biden told reporters during a vaccination photo that he “cannot” comment on tensions between Putin’s ranks, the claims were echoed by the State Department, the Pentagon and British government officials alike.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a briefing in Algeria that the messages were a symptom of the “Achilles heel” of an autocracy, where people cannot speak the truth to power.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added that it was “inconvenient” that Putin “does not fully understand the extent to which his troops are failing” in Ukraine.
“It’s his army,” Kirby said, according to… to the Washington Post. ‘It’s his war. He chose it. … And sure, a result of that could be a disloyal attempt to negotiate some sort of settlement here. If he’s not fully aware of how badly he’s doing, how can his negotiators come to a lasting agreement?”
Exactly how the Russian military does it, bad or not, is shrouded in the mists of war and competing narratives. According to the head of British intelligence, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Mr Putin has “massively misjudged the situation”.
The head of Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service, Sir Jeremy Fleming, will set out in a rare public address in Australia on Thursday how demoralized Russian soldiers perform — from shooting down their own plane and sabotaging their own equipment to refusing to carry out attacks. command .
Pre-released text of his comments released to UK media Sky News and the guard allege that Russian cyber attackers are “seeking targets” outside Ukraine in the countries resisting Putin’s invasion.
He is expected to add that mercenaries from the private military group Wagner are preparing to send larger numbers of personnel to fight in Ukraine, which Mr Putin would likely use as “cannon fodder” to limit military losses.
“We have seen Russian soldiers – short of weapons and morale – refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own plane,” he said.
“And while we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, the regime needs to be crystal clear about what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgments,” the comments continued.