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Putin ‘misinformed’ by his advisers on the war, White House says

Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown on Jan. 27, 2021, is being misled by his advisers on the facts of the war in Ukraine, a White House spokeswoman said Wednesday. (Mikhail Klimentyev/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misinformed by advisers about his military’s performance in Ukraine and the effect of sanctions on his country’s economy, a White House spokeswoman said, citing unspecified U.S. intelligence.

“We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership,” White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said in a briefing 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.”

She declined to elaborate on the U.S. intelligence, saying the administration didn’t want to risk compromising its sources or methods of gathering the information.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby concurred that Putin hasn’t been kept informed by his Defense Ministry.

“It is his military. It is his war. He chose it,” Kirby told reporters. “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. Certainly, one outcome of that could be a less than faithful effort at negotiating some sort of settlement here.”

Earlier Wednesday, President Joe Biden said he was “reluctant to comment” on reports about the intelligence finding.


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