- Britain’s spy chief Sir Jeremy Fleming said Russia was suffering from low morale in its war against Ukraine.
- He claimed that in one case, Russian troops accidentally shot down their own plane.
- Fleming added that Vladimir Putin is misinformed by his advisers because they fear him.
In prepared remarks due to be delivered on Thursday, the director of the British government’s communications headquarters, Sir Jeremy Fleming, said Russian soldiers “refuse to carry out orders, sabotage their own equipment and even accidentally shoot down their own aircraft”. .
“It’s only been 36 days since Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked and premeditated attack on Ukraine. It was shocking in every sense of the word. But it’s not surprising. We’ve seen this strategy before,” said Fleming, during a reading of his speech. . “We’ve seen the intelligence picture building. And now we see Putin trying to follow through with his plan. But it’s failing. And his plan B has been more barbarism against civilians and cities.”
Flemish spoke at the Australian National University on Thursday, March 31, for a conference on “generational change” in the face of global security. In the speech, published on the website of the British intelligence agency GCHQ, Fleming states that “Putin massively misjudged the situation.”
“It is clear that he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition that his actions would galvanize. He downplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. He overestimated the capabilities of his army to ensure a quick victory,” he added. said Fleming. “We have seen Russian soldiers – strapped for weapons and morale – refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.”
Fleming added in his speech that he thought Putin’s advisers were afraid to tell him the truth about “low morale, logistical failures and high Russian casualty tolls.”
US intelligence officials have also claimed that Putin was misinformed because his advisers feared him.
“We believe Putin is misinformed by his advisers about the poor performance of the Russian military,” a US official told NBC News on Wednesday.
It was also reported that a Russian battalion ran over its commander with a tank due to the heavy casualties he had suffered.
“The great irony is, of course, that by his actions Putin has won himself exactly what he was trying to avoid – a Ukraine with a renewed sense of nationhood, a more united NATO than ever, and a global coalition of nations that condemn his actions,” according to Fleming’s speech.
At the end of last week, the UN said at least 1,119 civilians had been killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine. NATO estimated that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers died during the war, while Russia claimed that 1,351 of its soldiers were killed. In his latest update on soldier deaths on March 12, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had died during the war.
This week, Russia said it would reduce its military presence around kyiv and in the northern city of Chernihiv, building “mutual trust” and focusing on the Donbass region, but on Wednesday Ukrainian officials reported heavy Russian bombardment and civilian casualties in both towns.