Vladimir Putin is facing a growing military rebellion over his invasion of Ukraine and is being lied to by his advisers about the faltering war, according to a UK spy chief.
Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), said this morning that the Russian President had “massively misjudged” the strength of his army and the unified western response to the war.
Fleming said during an address at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra that Russian troops are now “short of weapons and morale”, after taking on heavy losses in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s government claims it has killed 16,000 Russian troops in just one month of fighting, while a leaked figure from Moscow suggests the number is around 10,000.
For comparison, 6,832 US troops were killed throughout the entire Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“Their command and control is in chaos,” Fleming said.
“Even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, the extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime. It’s become his personal war.”
It comes after the White House also briefed journalists that Putin had fallen out with his aides over the poor performance of Russia’s military in Ukraine.
A senior White House aide said Putin “felt misled by the Russian military.”
There have also been reports that a number of Kremlin staff have been either sacked or arrested in recent weeks.
The Kremlin denied reports of a rift between Putin and his advisers.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “They don’t understand President Putin, they don’t understand the mechanism for taking decisions and they don’t understand the style of our work.”