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The head of British intelligence agency GCHQ has claimed Russian troops are accidentally targeting their own planes in the invasion of Ukraine.
Sir Jeremy Fleming addressed the conflict in Ukraine as it enters its sixth week today, March 31, during a speech from the Australian National University in the capital city of Canberra.
Ukrainians have proven their resilience time and again throughout the conflict, and as a result Russia has failed to capture the capital Kyiv and a number of other major cities, making much slower progress than was anticipated by the large military.
Fleming acknowledged it was difficult to believe it had only been '36 days since Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked and premeditated attack on Ukraine', and said the conflict was not 'surprising' despite being 'shocking in every sense of the word'.
"We’ve seen this strategy before," he explained, adding: "We saw the intelligence picture building. And we’re now seeing Putin trying to follow through on his plan. But it is failing."
Fleming claimed in his speech President Putin's 'Plan B' was to resort to 'more barbarity against civilians and cities', saying he 'clearly [...] plays by different moral and legal rules'.
Putin has been accused a number of times of committing war crimes in Ukraine, for example with the devastation caused by a strike at a hospital in Mariupol earlier this month.
The intelligence chief stressed 'far too many Ukrainians and Russians have already lost their lives' and even more 'have had their lives shattered', but while the war is 'not over yet' Fleming said it 'increasingly looks like Putin has massively misjudged the situation'.
"It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise. He under-played the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. He over-estimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory," Fleming said.
Russian soldiers are claimed to have 'refused' to carry out orders while 'short of weapons and morale', as well as 'sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft', according to British intelligence.
Fleming expressed a belief 'Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth', but noted 'the extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime'.
The war has now, Fleming said, become Putin's 'personal war, with the cost being paid by innocent people in Ukraine and increasingly, by ordinary Russians too'.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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