Kiev: The head of US intelligence has said Russian President Vladimir Putin has “become better informed” about the difficulties facing his invading forces in Ukraine, as the Kremlin suggested the Russian president could visit the occupied Donbas region at a future unspecified date.
Speaking at a defence forum, Avril Haines, the US Director of National Intelligence, indicated Putin was no longer as insulated from bad news about the conditions facing his invasion of Ukraine as he was earlier in the campaign, The Guardian reported.
Alluding to past assessments that Putin’s advisers could be shielding him from bad news, Haines said he was “becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces”.
“But it’s still not clear to us that he has a full picture of at this stage of just how challenged they are,” she said, addressing an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.
Haines’s comments reflect a wider internalisation of Russian military failures in Ukraine that has increasingly been reflected in remarks made by key regime propagandists, in public opinion polling and in analysis by the Russian military blogger community.
The scale of the challenges facing the Russian president have also been underlined by a series of battlefield setbacks in recent months that have led to the Russians retreating from the Kharkiv region, from Kherson oblast -- including the key city of the same name -- and from parts of the Russian-occupied Donbas region.
Although Moscow has responded by attacking key Ukrainian civilian energy infrastructure in an attempt to freeze Kiev into concessions, that campaign, too, has had only a partial impact as Ukrainian engineers have moved quickly to repair damaged power plants and western allies have sent emergency generating plants to help disperse Ukraine’s energy network, The Guardian reported.