Putin Is Giving Orders to Military Officials HIMSELF – Information from two sources familiar with U.S. and western intelligence seems to suggest that the command structure of the Russian military has collapsed, with Russian President Vladimir Putin giving directions to generals in the field directly.
Sources told CNN that the Russian president is bypassing his own military officials and giving directions to those on the battlefield, a move rarely seen in modern combat and one that suggests the command structure has either begun to fall apart or has been completely dysfunctional since the early days of the war.
The sources describe how intelligence intercepts caught Russian officers arguing with one another, and even complaining to their friends and relatives back in Russia, over how the decisions are being made in Moscow. Officers were also caught disagreeing over strategy, with some leaders arguing that the Russian military should focus on defensive lines and prevent further Ukrainian gains, while others suggested going on the offensive.
The same report also cited a former senior NATO official who claimed that Russian officials in Moscow are attempting to shift blame away from the Kremlin and towards the military.
“Kremlin officials and state media pundits have been feverishly discussing the reasons for the failure in Kharkiv and in typical fashion, the Kremlin seems to be attempting to deflect the blame away from Putin and onto the Russian military,” the source claimed.
If that’s the case, it could be the reason why Putin is getting directly involved with the conflict and strategy moving forward. It may also indicate that the Russian president realizes his own officials have kept him in the dark throughout the war, and signal a dramatic shift in strategy moving forward.
Still Saving Face
Just as the Kremlin eventually acknowledged its losses in Kharkiv after first claiming fleeing troops were “regrouping” in Donbas, the Kremlin has also been forced to acknowledge some casualties in the war. However, Russia’s figures are dramatically lower than the estimates from Western analysts.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin updated its official estimate of the number of Russian soldier deaths in Ukraine for the first time in six months, acknowledging a total of 5,936 losses. Only weeks into the war, the Kremlin claimed to have lost just 1,351 soldiers.
Meanwhile, western intelligence suggests that Russia could have lost anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000, while some analysts suggest the figure could be even higher.
With Putin directing his own soldiers on the battlefield, and with 300,000 reserve soldiers on their way to the battlefield, the Kremlin will be no doubt hoping to keep its casualty numbers as low as possible while defending its positions in the Donbas.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.