London (Times Of Ocean)- The British spy chief reportedly stated that Russian soldiers refused to obey orders, sabotaged their own equipment, shot down their own aircraft, and refused to carry out orders in the Ukraine invasion by Vladimir Putin.
Putin “massively misjudged” the invasion of Ukraine, according to Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ.
In addition, Jeremy Fleming says that Putin underestimated the military’s ability to secure a rapid victory, and that his advisers are afraid to speak the truth about a campaign “beset by problems”.
“We’re now seeing Putin trying to follow through on his plan. But it is failing. And his plan-B has been more barbarity against civilians and cities,” Fleming said in a speech to the Australian National University. “We’ve seen Putin lie to his own people in an attempt to hide military incompetence.”
“It increasingly looks like Putin has massively misjudged the situation,” the British intelligence chief said, adding that Russian soldiers who were rejecting orders and damaging their own equipment were “short of weapons and morale”.
“It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise. He underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime.”
The GCHQ chief says Russian soldiers sabotage their equipment and have accidentally shot down their own aircraft.
Mercenaries, including the Russia-backed Wagner Group, are sending more foreign soldiers to the region, he said. “These soldiers will likely be used as cannon fodder to limit Russian losses,” he said.
Putin was accused directly by Fleming of playing by different moral and legal rules. The cost of his war is being paid by innocent civilians in Ukraine and increasingly by ordinary Russians as well, he said.
GCHQ’s head of communications warned that siding with Moscow would not serve Beijing’s global interests.
“We know both presidents Xi [Jinping] and Putin place great value on their personal relationships . . . but there are risks to them both, and more for China, in being too closely aligned.”
Beijing “wants to set . . . the norms for a new global governance”, he noted, yet Russia was a regime “that wilfully and illegally ignores them all”.
During Britain’s damning assessment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russia was preparing to launch new strikes in eastern Ukraine after Moscow said it had moved to “fully liberate” Donbas.
Zelensky made his comments in a video address late on Wednesday after Russia’s defence ministry announced it was pulling out of major cities in Ukraine’s north and west, including Kyiv and Chernihiv, so that it could focus on the east of the country.
Zelensky said: “We do not believe anyone — we do not trust any beautiful verbal constructions.”
Russian defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday that there was a “planned rotation” out of Kyiv and Chernihiv after “all the main tasks” were completed in those regions.
The military was entering the “final phase” of its operations in eastern Ukraine in order to “complete the operation to fully liberate the Donbas”, the mostly Russian-speaking border region.