Putin’s critical errors that led to humiliation in Ukraine exposed
Russia: Vladimir Putin addresses rally in Moscow
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Leaked documents have shown how Russian President Vladimir Putin massively overestimated his military’s capabilities at the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022. Russian security officials were feeding Putin shoddy evidence and were too scared to tell him the truth about what could happen if Russia launched its invasion.
Putin was told that Ukrainians would welcome Russian troops and urge them to overthrow the government of Volodymyr Zelensky, the leaks also show.
The Sun has obtained emails from within the FSB (Russian security services) shared by a source known as Wind of Change.
The emails were sent from the source to Russian human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin.
It is revealed in the emails that Russia believed Ukrainians were ready to rise up against Mr Zelensky.
The FSB email said: “We issued reports that at minimum about 2,000 trained civilians in every major city in Ukraine were ready to overthrow Zelensky.
“And that at least 5,000 civilians were prepared to come out with flags against Zelensky on the beck-and-call of Russia.”
Wind of Change explained to the Sun that Putin failed to form a plan B in case his invasion strategy did not work.
The source added that if Putin’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was asked before the war, he would have replied “we will take Kiev (Kyiv) in three days”.
Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russia’s security and intelligence, explained that many in the Kremlin are too scared to tell Putin what he doesn’t want to hear.
He said: “We’ve known for years that Putin has become more and more intolerant of anything that doesn’t conform to what he wants to hear.
“As this material gets passed up the chain of command it gets rewritten and rewritten and distorted because no-one dares give him the bad news.
“So this is a problem he’s created for himself.”
On Putin, the expert continued: “He is absolutely convinced that Ukraine is not a real country and Ukrainians not a real people and therefore can’t bring him to accept that they’re willing to die with such determination for this ‘non-country’.
“Who’s going to be the one who actually says ‘Vladimir Vladimirovich that’s not actually the way things are’.”
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In the early stages of the war, Russia sent a huge convoy in the direction of Kyiv and hit the city with missile strikes.
Many feared that Russia would indeed take the city in a matter of days, but Ukraine’s resilience meant that Putin’s forces were eventually driven back from the capital.
Mr Galeotti says all of these failings could not have happened without Putin approving the battle plans.
He added: “He shaped the plan for the invasion. It’s not the way the generals would fight a war.
“Instead it was based on the idea that this was going to be an easy, quick seizure of the country.
“For example, many of the invasion force were members of the National Guard, who are basically a security force.
“So the assumption was the main problem would be some protests, maybe some riots rather than outright warfare.
“That’s making the assumption that most Ukrainians would at the very least keep their heads down and grumble maybe but not take up arms against the Russians.”
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British defence and security think tank, published a report which may explain why Russia was so confident its military would succeed in Ukraine.
They found that the FSB conducted polling ok the Ukrainian population, and found many in the country were frustrated with Mr Zelensky’s government.
However, they mistakenly thought this meant Ukrainians would not take up arms to defend their country.
The RUSI’s report said: “While the FSB survey may have been accurate in measuring opinions at the time it was conducted, it told the Russians little about how sentiments would evolve in the aftermath of an invasion,” says the report.
“It is notable that Putin, in his pre-invasion televised address, spoke extensively about the failures of Ukrainian governance in terms that mirrored the picture painted by the FSB’s surveys.”
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