CIA says Putin's invasion 'already a failure' and he 'bet wrong'

CIA says Putin's invasion 'already a failure' and he 'bet wrong'

CIA says Putin’s Ukraine invasion is ‘already a failure’ and he has ‘bet wrong’ on winning as well as shown ‘the weakness of Russia’s military’

  • Vladimir Putin’s bloody and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is already a failure 
  • CIA Director William Burns made the declaration at a conference in Washington
  • Putin has revealed the much-feared Russian military to be a paper tiger 
  • Generations of Russians to suffer from the damage sanctions are doing, he says

Vladimir Putin’s bloody and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is already a failure, the head of the CIA said yesterday, even as a Ukrainian counteroffensive tears through Russian lines in the east.

Director William Burns said that Putin had erred initially in underestimating Ukrainian will and ability to resist his invasion, and he continues to fatally underestimate the resolve of the West to support Kyiv and wage economic war on Russia.

The outcome is that Putin has revealed that Russia – once thought to be the second military power in the world behind the US – to be a paper tiger whose economy will take decades to recover from the damage being wrought by sanctions.    

‘Putin’s bet right now is that he is going to be tougher than the Ukrainians, the Europeans, the Americans … I believe, and my colleagues at CIA believe, that Putin is as wrong about that bet as he was profoundly wrong in his assumptions going back to last February about Ukrainian will to resist,’ the New York Times reports Burns as saying at a conference in Washington.

‘Not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed … but there is going to be long-term damage done to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians,’ he said.

While the war is still ongoing and the shape of ultimate victory yet to be seen, Mr. Burns said it was ‘hard to see Putin’s record in the war as anything but a failure.’ 

CIA Director William Burns said it was ‘hard to see Putin’s record in the war as anything but a failure’

Putin had erred initially in underestimating Ukrainian will and ability to resist his invasion, and he continues to fatally undermine the resolve of the West to support Kyiv and wage economic war on Russia, the CIA director said

Left: Ukrainian soldiers – reportedly from the Kraken Special Branch – pose in with their weapons in front of a Ukrainian flag, standing or crouching on top of a Russian flag that has been pulled down. Right: A soldier poses on the steps of what appears to be a government building. Holding his weapon on the air, he is beaming from ear-to-ear. At his feet, a Russian tri-colour and red Soviet Union flag both lie in tatters while above him, the yellow and blue of a Ukrainian flag can be seen on the building

On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces have seized the initiative after six months of grinding Russian offensives that have managed to grasp 20 per cent of the country’s territory at huge cost in lives and materiel.

Despite launching a long-awaited counteroffensive in the Kherson region in the south of the country at the end of August, there is some suggestion that this move was a feint. 

After highlighting their intent to finally launch a counterattack, the Ukrainian high command sucked Russian troops and armaments into an area that is difficult to supply across the Dnieper River, the fixed bridges having all been taken out by long range missile strikes.

Ukraine’s military also said it launched new attacks on Russian pontoon bridges used to bring supplies across the Dnieper River to Kherson, one of the largest Russian-occupied cities, and the adjacent region. 

This distraction in the south disguised an armour build up to the east of Ukraine around Kharkiv and launch a surprise attack to break out from thin Russian lines, leading to the retaking of Balakliia, a town of 27,000 residents. 

Experts and observers speculate their objective is likely the city of Kup’yans’k, which spans the Oksil River and contains a key railway hub through which nearly all Russian supplies heading into Donbas pass.

If Ukraine can pull off the move, then it will leave the city of Izyum – staging post for its assault on Donbas – cut off, with troops at risk of being surrounded. 

More broadly, it will leave troops in the wider region badly short of supplies – particularly artillery ammunition – that they need to support their attacks.

That means Russia’s entire Donbas offensive could grind to a halt, opening the door to further Ukrainian counter-attacks. 

Two separate clips showed Ukrainian soldiers driving Humvees against Russian-occupied positions. In one of the clip (pictured), filmed with a camera on the soldier’s helmet, he can be seen firing a heavy machine gun from the back of the military vehicle as it barrels towards a village at dusk

In this video, at least two tanks can be seen submerged under water – the Russian ‘Z’ symbol clearly marked on the side

A Russian-installed official in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region said on Friday that civilians were being evacuated from three Russian-held towns in the region where Ukraine has launched a surprise counteroffensive.

Vitaly Ganchev said on state television host Vladimir Solovyov’s daily livestream that civilians were being evacuated from the towns of Izium, Kupiansk and Veliky Burluk.

Ganchev said the evacuation was mainly from Kupiansk and Izium but added: ‘We’ve now received word that Veliky Burluk is under artillery fire, so people, of course, were asked to leave for safer settlements.’

Ganchev said he would turn for help to authorities in the Belgorod region of southern Russia if there were problems relocating the people who were evacuated.

Kupiansk and Izium are vital logistics hubs for the Russian army in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, and both appear directly threatened by a dramatic Ukrainian counteroffensive that Kyiv says has pushed up to 50 km (30 miles) past Russian lines this week.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War predicted on Friday that Ukrainian forces would likely recapture Kupiansk within 72 hours.

Speaking to Russian state television earlier on Friday, Ganchev said that Ukrainian forces had won a ‘significant victory’ in Kharkiv region, one of the first Russian official acknowledgements of the counteroffensive.

Pictured: A woman embraces a soldier as she cries in both joy and disbelief as Ukrainian soldiers reach her in Balakliia

In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian troops had ‘liberated dozens of settlements’ and reclaimed more than 385 square miles of territory in the east and south in the past week alone.

Zelensky posted a video in which Ukrainian soldiers said they had captured the eastern town of Balakliia, which lies along a stretch of front stretching south of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.

If the Ukrainian gains are confirmed and held, they mean a significant defeat for Putin’s forces. Western intelligence services say Russia has suffered large casualties, with Kyiv’s estimates suggesting more than 50,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began on February 24.

Should the Ukrainian advances be confirmed, this number could continue to rise rapidly. 

The Institute for the Study of War think tank said the Ukrainians were now within just 15 km of Kupiansk, an essential junction for the main railway lines that Moscow has been using for months to supply its forces on the battlefields in the east. 

But Putin’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, said only ‘several peripheral villages’ had been taken. ‘As far as we can judge, even the top brass of the Ukrainian armed forces opposed this madness,’ he said. ‘However, the leader of Ukraine was obstinate following his conversation with his US and UK colleagues.

‘As a result, the bodies of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, who were sent to their deaths and were prevented from turning back by anti-retreat forces, are scattered in fields near Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and in the forests near Kharkiv,’ he claimed.

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