Vladimir Putin is 'running out of steam' in Ukraine, head of MI6 says

Vladimir Putin is 'running out of steam' in Ukraine, head of MI6 says

07/21/2022

Vladimir Putin is ‘running out of steam’ in Ukraine and his forces may need to ‘pause’ in coming weeks, head of MI6 says

  • Richard Moore said Putin might have to pause forces amid ‘epic fail’ in Ukraine
  • Head of MI6 said war is ‘obviously not over’ but Kremlin is ‘running out of steam’ 
  • US puts Russians killed at 15,000 while Ukraine places it at twice this figure

Vladimir Putin is ‘running out of steam’ in Ukraine and his forces may have to ‘pause’ in the coming weeks, the head of MI6 has said.

Richard Moore, the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), said the war was ‘obviously not over’ but the Russian President had obviously made an ‘epic fail’ invading the sovereign state.  

The news comes as Putin has suffered heavy losses and seen at least 66 of his colonels killed in the fighting. 

This week the United States estimated the number of Russian casualties during the invasion is around 15,000 while Ukraine put it far higher at 38,850. 

Mr Moore also dismissed claims that Putin is suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s or another mystery illness, and has often appeared unsteady during recent public appearances.

Vladimir Putin is ‘running out of steam’ in Ukraine and his forces may have to ‘pause’ in the coming weeks, the head of MI6 has said. Pictured: The remains of a Russian battle tank, destroyed during battles this spring in a kitchen-garden in the village of Velyka Dymerka, northeast of Kyiv, today 

The US-made Javelin missile can be seen flying from a height before slamming down on the tank from above – known as a ‘curveball shot’ – and sparking a huge fireball explosion in footage released today 

The news comes as Vladimir Putin (pictured today at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow) has suffered heavy losses and seen at least 66 of his colonels killed in the fighting 

Richard Moore (pictured), the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), said the war was ‘obviously not over’ but the Russian President had obviously made ‘epic fail’ invading the sovereign state 

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the US, Mr Moore said: ‘I think he has suffered a strategic failure in Ukraine. It is obviously not over.

‘He has obviously made, and the Russian forces have made, some incremental progress over recent weeks and months but it is tiny amounts.

‘We are talking about a small number of miles of advance. When they take a town, there is nothing left. It is obliterated.

‘And I think they are about to run out of steam. I think our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower over the next few weeks.

‘They will have to pause in some way and that will give Ukrainians opportunities to strike back. Their morale is still high. They are starting to receive increasing amounts of good weaponry.’

With winter coming and the pressure on gas supplies, ‘we are in for a tough time’, according to Mr Moore, who believes a Ukrainian fightback could spread benefits across Europe.

He said: ‘It is important I think to the Ukrainians themselves that they demonstrate their ability to strike back. I think that will be very important for their continuing high morale.

‘I also think, to be honest, it will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a winnable campaign by the Ukrainians.’

Mr Moore said there is no evidence that Mr Putin is suffering from serious ill health and that going into the invasion ‘the reality of what they were about to encounter was just not being briefed up’ to the Russian leader.

William Burns, also speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, also said Putin is ‘entirely too healthy’ as he said his comments were ‘not a formal intelligence judgment’ but a personal opinion

The invasion has triggered widespread sanctions against the Russian regime.

Firefighters extinguish a fire on a local market damaged following a shelling in the town of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine today

Mr Moore said the ‘pretty concerted effort’ against Russia has led to the expulsion of ‘something roughly north of 400’ intelligence officers who were operating under diplomatic cover.

‘We reckon in the UK that has probably reduced their ability to do their business to spy for Russian in Europe by half,’ he added.

Mr Moore thinks ‘it is too early to tell what lessons they (China) will draw from Putin’s misadventures in Ukraine’ but China’s President ‘Xi Jinping is watching this like a hawk’.

This makes it ‘essential’ that ‘we tough it out on Ukraine’, keep going through this winter and help the Ukrainians to win and negotiate from a position of significant strength, he suggested.

Russia and China are said to have a relationship that is based on the idea of ‘no limits’, the conference heard.

Ukrainian service members fire a shell from a M777 Howitzer today as Russia’s attack continues

Despite being ‘quite conservative about military assistance’, the Chinese are helping the Russians over Ukraine by buying their oil, according to Mr Moore.

He added: ‘They are right on the front foot of beating the Russian drum and selling the Russian narrative around Ukraine and doing it without any sense of irony.

‘This is a country that spends a lot of time banging on about sovereignty and territorial integrity and here is the most egregious example of someone tearing that up in Europe and the Chinese keep on selling their snake oil around the world.

‘It feels pretty tight but it is not an equal partnership. Ukraine has made it less equal.

Moscow is very much the junior and the Chinese are very much in the driver’s seat.’

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