March 30 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misinformed by his military advisers about failures in the war on Ukraine, creating anger and tension in the Kremlin, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” an official said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the account, saying “Putin has not been fully informed by his Ministry of Defense at every turn over the last month.”
“If Mr. Putin is misinformed or uninformed about what’s going on inside Ukraine, it’s his military, it’s his war, he chose it,” Kirby said during a press briefing Wednesday. “And so the fact that he may not have all the context — that he may not fully understand the degree to which his forces are failing in Ukraine, that’s a little discomforting, to be honest with you.”
Though the U.S. officials declined to go into many details from the intelligence assessment, they did say Putin appeared surprised to learn the Russian military was using conscripts in the fighting in Ukraine. In televised remarks earlier this month, Putin said he would not use conscripts in the war.
“I emphasize that conscript soldiers are not participating in hostilities and will not participate in them,” he said. “And there will be no additional call-up of reservists.”
The misinformation has led to breakdown in trust between Putin and his Ministry of Defense, particularly with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military. There is now persistent tension between Putin and the MOD, stemming from Putin’s mistrust in MOD leadership,” a U.S. official said.
Tensions have risen so high among Putin’s inner circle that he put two intelligence officials under house arrest for providing bad information ahead of the Ukrainian invasion, The New York Times reported.