With the war now into the fourth week, Moscow appears to have failed in its conquest of a rapid end to the invasion it believed would take a matter of days. The Kremlin has now announced it will scale back its assault on Kyiv as it fails to make any ground on the capital amid tight resistance from Ukrainian defence forces.
Western officials now believe Putin has been lied to by his top brass Generals who feel they cannot tell him the truth about the catastrophic losses and lack of progress being made.
One Western official said: “Even if they were capable of influencing him, would they be prepared to tell him the truth about the fairly disastrous progress of this campaign?
“I think we are much less certain he is getting an honest picture on the ground.”
Another official said: “I think it’s also likely within the Russian system various elements are going to be blaming each other for the lack of success, so that’s going to also complicate the challenge for the truth getting through.
“People will be being quite defensive about their own failures, and, I think, looking to point the finger at others.”
“Tactical retreats” by Moscow forces were evidence of “just how badly President Putin has miscalculated”, they added.
On a personnel level, Putin has also lost multiple senior ranking officers on the battlefield, with reports emerging almost daily of Colonels and Generals being killed.
It has further been reported Russia may have lost as many as 15,000 troops since the invasion started.
Add to this the numerous losses of tanks, helicopters, fighter jets and other hardware, Putin is fast realising his ambitions are being thwarted.
Within Russia’s notorious intelligence services, huge disparity has also started to emerge.
Multiple senior FSB officers have been held under house arrest as Putin blames them for intelligence failures over the invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine War LIVE: Putin humiliated as Russian troops forced to retreat
Analysts have often stated Russian troops were not correctly informed of their mission in Ukraine, with some being told they are liberating the country from Nazis, while others were told of training missions.
The majority of Putin’s forces consist of young, under-trained conscripts with little tactical awareness, led by senior officers who are easily targeted by Ukrainian defences.
Of the many Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces, many have stated they are not sure of their goals and have complained of hunger, cold and lack of resources.
Putin is now relying on air superiority in the battle, using powerful missiles and air attacks on Ukrainian cities.
Calls for a no-fly zone over the country have been largely rejected by the West and NATO who fear engagement with Russian forces would spark a wider conflict.
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Ukraine has warned Russia’s intentions to scale back over Kyiv is another lie, and has continued to ask the West for support.
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently having spoken to other leaders, a Number 10 spokeswoman said they “agreed on the ongoing need to support and sustain the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russian barbarism”.
She added: “The Prime Minister underscored we must judge Putin’s regime by their actions, not their words.
“Putin is twisting the knife in the open wound of Ukraine in an attempt to force the country and its allies to capitulate.
“The Prime Minister stressed to his fellow leaders we should be unrelenting in our response.”