'Messing with his head' Putin delivered hammer blow as Russia intelligence questioned

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Vladimir Putin has seen his knowledge of Russia’s advance in Ukraine questioned after US sources suggested military chiefs are afraid of letting him know the army has failed to make significant progress in over a month of war. Ukraine stepped up with fierce resistance, and Russian soldiers were either repelled or pushed back across the west despite heavy bombardment and shelling. Russian expert Dmitri Alperovitch argued that suggestions he is being misinformed are “messing” with Putin’s own head and forcing him to reconsider his position.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Alperovich said: “It has been absolutely remarkable to watch this.

“The fact we’re declassifying some of the most sensitive intelligence we probably have, learning what the advisors are telling Putin…

“Imagine the type of access that we have to have to know that and, frankly, the sources and methods we’re putting at risk to do that.

“But it is messing with his head.”

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He added: “There’s no bigger insult to a KGB officer, former KGB officer, than to tell him that he’s misinformed about his own military and his own war.

“Even calling him a butcher is probably considered as some sort of twisted praise.

“But calling him misinformed, he’s really upset about that.”

White House Communication director Kate Bedingfield confirmed reports have emerged claiming Putin is currently being “misled” on the state of the war by “yes men.”

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Speaking to the press earlier in the week, Ms Bedingfield said: “We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership.

“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers 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.”

The top US official said the decision to share the information publicly was made to show the world the invasion of Ukraine “has been a strategic error for Russia.”

A second official added: “It’s potentially useful. Does it sow dissension in the ranks?

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“It could make Putin reconsider whom he can trust.”

And a senior European diplomat said the US’s assessment was in line with European intelligence.

They said: “Putin thought things were going better than they were.

“That’s the problem with surrounding yourself with ‘yes men’ or only sitting with them at the end of a very long table.”



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