Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “running out of steam” in Ukraine and his forces may have to “pause” in the coming weeks, the head of Britain’s overseas intelligence service MI6 has said. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, Richard Moore added that Russia has also lost its ability to spy in Europe by half. His claims were based on the reports of expulsion of more than 400 Russian intelligence officers from many European cities and the arrest of several deep-cover spies posing as civilians.
“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,” said Mr Moore.
“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,” he added.
The MI6 chief also dismissed claims that Mr Putin is suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s or some mystery illness. CIA chief William Burns also concurred, adding at the same forum that the Russian leader is “entirely too healthy”. Mr Burns, however, added that his comments were “not a formal intelligence judgment” but a personal opinion.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and in more than four months, has ravaged several cities. The invasion has also triggered widespread sanctions by the West against the Russian government.