Ukraine: Putin threatens to cut off Europe's gas supplies
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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said that Russian officers had taken soldiers into combat without them realising, a tactic he condemned as “insane” and “morally bankrupt”. Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Government think tank, Sir Tony said Putin’s standing had been “diminished” as a result of the military setbacks.
He said: “The scenes coming out of Mariupol and elsewhere are horrific, and the coming weeks will continue to be very difficult.
“But in many ways, Putin has already lost. Far from being the far-sighted manipulator of events that he would have us believe, Putin has damaged himself through a series of catastrophic misjudgements.
“Like all authoritarians, he allowed himself to be misled as to his own strength, including the effectiveness of the Russian armed forces.
“His actions to date have done more to galvanise than divide and have shown Ukraine to have the one thing Russia conspicuously lacks — real friends.
“What is very clear is that Putin is a weaker and more diminished figure today than he was a month ago, and conversely NATO is stronger and more united today than at any time I can remember.”
Sir Tony who is the former head of the Navy went on to argue that there were “early indications” that Russian forces were retreating.
He said: “I think we are seeing that Russia’s ambitions to take Kyiv and Russia’s ambitions to take the whole of Ukraine and do that in a very swift and impressive fashion, those ambitions have fallen apart.
“And it looks now that less emphasis is being placed on Kyiv and more emphasis is being placed on the east and the south.
“We are starting to see the early indications of those forces being moved back from Kyiv and retreating to both Russia and Belarus.
“That in itself is a difficult evolution for Russia because they are doing that under contact, so Ukraine armed forces will attack those Russian forces as they retreat.
“And then I think we have to wait and see how that materialises and how that shapes in the future.”
David Williams, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, said he was concerned about Putin’s reaction to losing ground in Ukraine which could be “dangerous”.
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It comes after comments made by Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ in a speech in Australia that Putin was facing growing insurrection over the failed war.
Sir Jeremy added that the Russian President had “overestimated” the ability of his military forces.
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