The head of the UK’s biggest spy agency says Moscow is running thin on military weapons and is holding back “frustration at many levels within Russian society”.
“We believe that Russia is short of ammunition and certainly short of friends,” said Jeremy Fleming, director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). He said on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme.
“Because of the mobilization announcement, we saw that it was a troop shortage. So I think the answer to that is very clear. Russia and Russia’s commanders are concerned about the state of their military machine,” Fleming said on Tuesday.
Asked if the Kremlin was feeling pessimistic amid President Vladimir Putin’s faltering military campaign in Ukraine, Fleming added: “We can see that pessimism at many levels within Russian society and within the Russian military machine.”
“As we saw in yesterday’s horrific attacks, Russia still has a very capable military machine. It can launch weapons, it has deep, deep stocks and expertise. And yet, it’s stretched far and wide in Ukraine,” Fleming said.
The violent strikes followed Putin’s announcement of an imminent military expansion in September. Nuclear retaliation.
“I think any talk of nuclear weapons is very dangerous and we have to be very careful how we talk about it,” Fleming said when asked about Putin’s nuclear threats.
“I’m sure we’ll see indicators if they start going down that path. But let’s be clear about it, if they do consider it, it’s going to be a disaster the way a lot of people have talked about,” he added.
In a speech later Tuesday, Fleming will say that the Russians are increasingly counting the cost of the Ukraine invasion and that Putin has misjudged “how badly” the situation is.
“His decision-making has proven flawed, with little effective internal challenge. It’s a high-stakes strategy that leads to strategic errors in judgment. Their gains are being reversed,” Fleming said at the Royal United Services Institute’s (RUSI) annual defense lecture in London.
A senior intelligence chief would also say ordinary Russians.Escape from the draft.”
“They know that their access to modern technologies and external influences will be severely restricted. And they realize the terrible human cost of his preferred war,” he would say.