Frustrated Putin BARKING at close aides – President furious over stuttering invasion


Ukraine: Kyiv TV Tower attacked by Russian forces

Russia’s troops have met stronger resistance than anticipated from Ukrainian forces since the invasion began last week, according to western intelligence officials, despite Ukraine’s army being outmanned and outgunned by Russia. Russian troops have reportedly been struggling to maintain stocks of fuel which has slowed their advance on the capital Kyiv and have been running short of ammunition, food and other stocks which has hampered its assault.

The Russian economy is also teetering on collapse in the wake of sweeping global sanctions and Putin is increasingly isolated from the international community, with Russian diplomats expelled from the United Nations and countries across the world calling for an immediate ceasefire.

These struggles have enraged Putin, current and former US officials told NBC News, who has reportedly lashed out at his closest aids despite remaining largely isolated from the rest of the Kremlin due to his concerns about catching COVID-19.

US Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the US Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC:“This is somebody that’s clearly been caught off guard by the size of the Ukrainian resistance.

“He has isolated himself. He’s not been in the Kremlin very much. … You’ve got less and less inputs, and these inputs are from sycophants.”

He added: “I do worry that he’s been backed into a corner. I do worry that there is no obvious exit ramp.”

Western intelligence officials are closely monitoring Putin’s moves for any behavioural changes that may give clues about his state of mind or potential next moves as the war rages for a sixth day.

US officials told NBC that although there is no intelligence to indicate that he is mentally unstable, despite reports elsewhere, he is displaying different behaviour from usual.

The Russian leader is reportedly very frustrated, US intelligence officials have said, and is frequently directing angry outbursts at people in his inner circle over the difficulties faced in this military campaign and the global condemnation of his invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin

Putin is reportedly becoming increasingly frustrated as his invasion struggles. (Image: GETTY)

Kharkiv

Destruction in Kharkiv, which has been bombarded in recent days. (Image: GETTY)

They have said this is unusual as Putin, a former intelligence officer, usually keeps his emotions in check and is not prone to bursts of anger.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said: “He is no longer the same cold-blooded, clear-eyed dictator that he was in 2008.”

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met Putin a number of times while in the administration of President George W. Bush, described Russia’s president as a “calculating and cold” former KGB operative.

But she told Fox News on Sunday that he now “seems erratic”.

Senator Marco Rubio, a ranking member of the US Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “The old Putin was a cold blooded but calculating killer. This new Putin is even more dangerous.”

Western diplomats have said that Putin seems to be increasingly isolated and misinformed which raises concern that the president may have a skewed view of what is happening in Ukraine.

On Western diplomat told NBC: “The main concern is the information he’s getting and how isolated he is. The isolation is a really big concern.

“We don’t believe he has a realistic understanding of what’s going on.”

READ MORE: Putin to retaliate to UK sanctions with ‘devastating’ cyber attack

Brovary, Ukraine

A military facility in Brovary outside Kyiv which was destroyed in Russian shelling. (Image: GETTY)

People leave Kyiv

Putin has told civilians to leave Kyiv which has raised fears he is preparing for heavy bombardment. (Image: GETTY)

Intelligence officials have warned that Putin, gradually being backed into a corner, may resort to more drastic and violent measures to claw back power over the situation in Ukraine.

Senator Rubio has warned this could be in the form of a huge cyberattack on Ukraine or fulfilment of the nuclear threat that Putin raised on Sunday.

Mr Rubio tweeted: “DANGER. #Putin’s legitimacy built on image as the strong leader who restored #Russia to superpower after the disasters of the 90’s. Now the economy is in shambles & the military is being humiliated & his only tools to reestablish power balance with the West is cyber & nukes.”

Ex-CIA chief Mr Brennan agreed that Putin may be spiralling, ramping up fears about what decisions he may make next.

He said: “This was just such a bad, bad miscalculation on Putin’s part.

“He’s never faced something like this before. I’m sure he’s lashing out at advisers, ministers and others — there may be an emotional spiral here.

“He’s suffered two black eyes, a bloody nose and a series of punches. He is being crippled on the battlefield and the financial front, and he has no good options.”

DON’T MISS:
Massive cloud of thick smoke erupts over Kyiv after Russian strike [BREAKING]
Russia allies: Seven countries that will side with Putin over Ukraine [INSIGHT]
EU, US and UK diplomats walk out on Lavrov as he slams Brussels [LATEST]

Kharkiv

Putin has been accused of using cluster munitions on civilian buildings in Kharkiv. (Image: PA)

Russian rockets and missiles have bombarded the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv over the past few days reportedly killing dozens of civilians.

Russia’s assault on the city has been described as a “barbaric attack” with Putin accused of committing war crimes by shelling civilian buildings with cluster munitions.

As a 40-mile convoy of Russian troops nears the capital Kyiv, intelligence officials have warned Putin’s tactics may become increasingly brutal.

These could include cutting off food, fuel and power supplies to the capital and deploying indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian areas – mirroring Russia’s actions in its air war in Syria, where it bombarded civilians while supporting troops backed by the Assad regime, and in the conflict in Chechnya in 1999 and 2000.

Alexander Vershbow, a former ambassador to Russia who was deputy secretary general of NATO from 2012 to 2016, told NBC that Putin badly underestimated Ukraine’s resistance and did not prepare for the response from the West.

He said: “It’s not a failed invasion, but certainly a faltering one.”

He added: “The next stage may be the scorched-earth tactics that we saw in Chechnya and Syria, which would mean much more death and destruction.

“I don’t think they have too many scruples when it comes to this.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.