Putin’s senior advisors are feeding him bad information about the Ukrainian invasion because they’re ‘too afraid to tell him the truth,’ a US official says
- A US official told reporters Putin is being fed bad information about Russia’s war with Ukraine.
- “Putin is being misinformed by his advisors about how badly the Russian military is performing.”
- The official said the advisors are “too afraid to tell him the truth” about the failures of the war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely being fed bad information by his top advisors about Russia’s more-than-month-long invasion of Ukraine because they are “too afraid to tell him the truth” about the failures of the war, a US official told reporters, including NBC News and CNN.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisors about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth,” said the official, citing declassified intelligence.
“Putin didn’t even know his military was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president,” the official added.
The official also said the US has “information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military,” according to CNN. “There is now persistent tension between Putin and the (Ministry of Defence), stemming from Putin’s mistrust in MOD leadership,” the official added.
Western officials told reporters on Tuesday Russian elites will likely blame each other for Russia’s “disastrous progress” in its war with Ukraine.
“It’s also likely that within the Russian system various elements are going to be blaming each other for the lack of success” in Ukraine, a Western official speaking on the condition of anonymity said.
The official added, “People are going to be being quite defensive about their own failures, and I think, looking to point the finger at others.”
Additionally, that official told reporters the West is “much less certain” that Putin “is getting an honest picture on the ground” in Ukraine.
“That’s one of the reasons why Western media, Ukrainian media, is important in continuing to make sure the reality of this conflict, and how it is causing not only death and destruction to the Ukrainians, but a great deal of death to the Russian forces as well,” the official said.
Putin launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 with Russian troops surrounding and shelling several towns across the eastern European country, including civilian targets.
Yet despite Ukraine’s armed forces being greatly outnumbered and outgunned by Russian troops, the Ukrainians have put up a fierce resistance, resulting in a mounting Russian death toll and a largely stalled invasion.
Putin’s opponents and critics have a history of dying in violent ways or finding themselves in a Russian penal colony, which could help explain why his advisors are apparently hesitant to provide the Russian leader with accurate intel.
Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, a top rival of Putin’s and Russia’s former deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin, was gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin in 2015. Nemtsov had been a vocal critic of Putin, particularly over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014.
He also worked to expose the involvement of Russian troops in a war in eastern Ukraine that began that same year. Putin had repeatedly denied that the Russian military had a presence in the Donbas region of Ukraine, despite solid evidence to the contrary.
Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most prominent critic, was poisoned with the Soviet era nerve agent Novichok in August 2020. The Russian opposition leader is now imprisoned in Russia on charges widely decried as politically motivated.
Navalny, who’s called for mass protests against Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, recently had nine more years added to his sentence. The State Department ripped into Russia over the ruling, decrying it as “a disturbing decision” and “another example of the Russian government’s widening crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression, which is intended to hide the Kremlin’s brutal war, and unprovoked war against.”
Russia has gone to extraordinary lengths to quash opposition to the war in Ukraine, arresting thousands of protestors.
Putin also signed a law in early March that could potentially land Russians behind bars for up to 15 years for spreading “false information” about the war in Ukraine.