October 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

Moscow lacks military weapons and wards off “desperation on many levels within Russian society”, according to the head of Britain’s biggest spy agency.

“We think Russia is running out of ammunition, they are certainly running out of friends,” Jeremy Fleming, director of government communications headquarters (GCHQ), told BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme.

“We saw, because of the declaration of mobilization, that it lacks troops. So I think the answer to this question is pretty clear. Russia and Russian commanders are worried about the state of their military machine,” Fleming said on Tuesday.

Asked if the Kremlin was desperate amid President Vladimir Putin’s faltering military campaign in Ukraine, Fleming added: “We can see this desperation on many levels within Russian society and within the Russian military machine.”

Fleming’s comments came after Russia launched a wave of deadly strikes across Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Monday, damaging critical infrastructure and killing at least 19 people.

“Russia, as we saw in yesterday’s terrible attacks, still has a very capable military machine. He can throw weapons, he has deep, deep stocks and expertise. And yet it is very widely spread in Ukraine,” Fleming said.

The heavy strikes follow Putin’s announcement of an immediate military escalation in September, in which he threatened the possibility of nuclear retaliation.

“I think any talk about nuclear weapons is very dangerous and we have to be very careful how we talk about it,” Fleming said when asked about Putin’s nuclear threats.

GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming delivers a speech at Watergate House in London, England on February 14, 2019.

“Hopefully we’ll see some indicators if they start going down this road. But let’s be very clear about this, if they are considering this it would be a disaster the way a lot of people have been talking about it” , he added.

In a speech later on Tuesday, Fleming will also say that the Russians are increasingly counting the cost of invading Ukraine and seeing “how badly ‘Putin’ has misjudged the situation.”

“With few effective internal challenges, his decision-making has proven to be flawed. This is a high-stakes strategy that leads to errors in strategic judgment. Their gains are being undone,” Fleming said in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) annual security conference in London.

The senior spy chief will also say that ordinary Russians are “running away from conscription.”

“They know that their access to modern technologies and outside influences will be significantly restricted. And they feel the magnitude of the terrible human cost of his war of choice,” he will say.

Christi C. Elwood