Australia: The head of Britain’s top communications espionage agency warned Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers are afraid of telling him the truth about his “failed” Ukraine war strategy.

Jeremy Fleming, the head of Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ, said in a prepared address to the Australian National University in Canberra that Putin had “massively misjudged” the invasion.

His words, which were made public ahead of time, echoed US information published by the White House the day before, indicating that Putin’s advisers were “misinforming” him about the Russian operation’s success.

Western intelligence agencies have been eager to highlight Russia’s military shortcomings and internal tensions in Putin’s inner circle.
Putin, according to Fleming, overestimated the Ukrainian resistance, the international coalition’s strength, and the impact of economic sanctions.

He also stated that the Russian leader had overestimated his own military’s capacity to accomplish a quick victory.
“We’ve seen Russian soldiers who are low on weaponry and morale refuse to carry out orders, sabotage their own equipment, and even shoot down their own planes,” Fleming added.
“What’s going on and the scope of these misjudgments must be crystal evident to the regime, even if Putin’s aides are unwilling to tell him the truth.”

Russia’s announcement this week that it would “dramatically” limit military operations surrounding Kyiv and Chernigiv in the north “may imply they have been forced to drastically rethink,” according to Fleming.
Russia’s cyberattacks, he said, are still a menace.

Though some were shocked that Moscow had not launched a massive hack, Fleming stated that such an offensive was “never our understanding” as part of the Russian invasion.

He did say, though, that Britain’s intelligence services had identified a “persistent desire from Russia to undermine Ukrainian government and military networks.”

“We’ve seen indications that Russia’s cyber actors are hunting for targets in nations that oppose their policies,” says the report.

Moscow was utilizing mercenaries and foreign fighters to reinforce its own forces on the battlefields in Ukraine, according to Fleming.
The Wagner Group was among them, and it was “stepping it up a notch” after being involved in the Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014.

“The outfit functions as a shadow component of the Russian military, providing implausible deniability for more dangerous activities,” he explained.
According to Fleming, Chinese President Xi Jinping has declined to denounce the invasion while providing Russia with diplomatic and economic support.

“With a view to retaking Taiwan, China does not want to do anything that will limit its ability to maneuver in the future,” he added, however he predicted that the China-Russia relationship will deteriorate as China’s military and economy grew in strength.

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