Jeremy Fleming at a GCHQ event in November 2019 in Staffordshire, England.
Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images
- The UK’s cyber intel chief says Vladimir Putin is being misled by top Russian officials.
- “We believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth,” said Jeremy Fleming.
- His claims mirror those made by US officials earlier Wednesday.
A UK intelligence chief said that Vladimir Putin’s advisors are not telling him the truth about the setbacks his military has faced in Ukraine, leading to a series of errors in Russia’s invasion.
In a speech in Australia on Thursday, Jeremy Fleming said that Putin “massively misjudged” the situation before launching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin, he said, made mistakes about the strength of opposition he’d face from Ukraine, how the West would react, and how hard sanctions would hit Russia.
“And even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issues assessments during his meeting with the officials of Security Council of Russia, on March 03, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.
Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
“It all adds up to the strategic miscalculation that our 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’s message mirrored briefings given by US officials on Wednesday, who said that Putin was being misled by top officials too afraid to give accurate information.
“We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership,” said Kate Bedingfield, director of communications at the White House.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly 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.”
Anonymous briefings by top US intelligence officials told a similar story.
As the invasion stalled and the Russian death toll mounted, Putin is rumored to have lashed out at top officials, including two FSB foreign intelligence chiefs allegedly placed under house arrest.
Russia expert Andrei Soldatov told Insider that the Kremlin was likely searching for traitors within the FSB security agency.
A former British military intelligence official recently told Insider that reprisals against some Russian leaders were likely meant as a signal to others that the consequences for failure in Ukraine will be severe.
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