Putin almost won the war in Ukraine before military plans collapsed, Danish intelligence says
Russia nearly won its war in Ukraine before its military plans collapsed, according to a Danish intelligence officer.
In an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingskethe head of Russian analysis for Danish intelligence agency Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE) – identified only by his first name, Joakim – said Danish officials initially believed Russia would take control of Ukraine in just two weeks after the launch by Russian President Vladimir Putin of the “special military operation”. .”
More than 10 months later, Russia continues to try to make up for mounting losses in Ukraine, which responded to the invasion with a stronger-than-expected defense effort that has been significantly bolstered by military aid from Western allies. . Meanwhile, the invasion exposed the weaknesses of Putin’s army, despite its much larger size.
In the first weeks of the invasion, Joakim said, “they were close” to winning the war, but the Kremlin’s poor decision-making cost Russia its long-awaited quick victory. He pointed to Putin’s ideological beliefs, rather than bad intelligence, as the main reason for Russia’s failures, according to the interview.
“We put a lot of the blame on Putin’s shoulders,” he said. For example, he cited decision-making among a small group of his allies that was only shared with others at the “last minute”, saying it caused confusion among troops. Calling the invasion a special military operation rather than a war also backfired, as only some troops could engage in combat until Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in September.
“It was very small factors that ended up deciding the outcome,” Joakim said.
He added that he believed Putin was still interfering in the military conduct of the war. He described a recent meeting with his military leaders in December as “the worst idea in the world”.
“He has a general to fight this war, so he shouldn’t just sit there taking advice from all these other generals,” he told the Danish newspaper. He also said he doubted Russia could launch a winter offensive because of its ill-equipped troops.
The newspaper’s report comes as Putin faces criticism over his army’s failure to achieve important goals in the war in Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Russian troops. In the fall, the Ukrainians reclaimed thousands of square kilometers of previously occupied territory.
Still, Russia enjoyed some success in the early weeks of the war, quickly taking parts of the country’s south-east. Putin’s troops have also made substantial progress in areas around Kyiv, where they have been accused of committing human rights abuses and war crimes against civilians.
Joakim said Berlingske that efforts near Kyiv deteriorated after failing to overcome Ukrainian air defenses to send more troops to the region.
A December report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) found that, amid growing criticism, Putin canceled a parliamentary speech as he struggles to sell his war narrative.
In addition, he allegedly canceled a press conference “to avoid answering questions about Russia’s military failures without resorting to overly obvious manipulation of interrogators and questions,” according to the ISW.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for comments.