Ukraine: Latest Weapon in US Information War: Pointing to Russian Army’s ‘Incompetence’ | International

The informative strategy of the Biden Administration —disseminating military secrets, without apparent filter, to influence the mood and plans of Vladimir Putin— has borne fruit at home. The latest Gallup poll gives six points more than in February to his management of the Russian threat, which has gone from 36% to 42% approval. They are far from spectacular figures, but at least they speak of some improvement for a president with some of the lowest approval ratings in history (in general performance he has been stagnant since December around 40%). It has also worked outside; According to another study by the American demographic company, released last week, at the gates of Biden’s trip to Brussels and Poland, his popularity has grown compared to last year in 26 of the 27 European NATO countries. (up to 52 points in Portugal and with the only exception of a failure in Lithuania).

So Washington officials have no plans to change their plan. The coordinated strategy for sending messages about “Putin’s war” this week has focused on two points. On the one hand, showing skepticism about the Kremlin’s promises at the negotiating table with Ukraine (the US intelligence services are not observing the announced withdrawal, but a rearmament for a new, more concentrated attack) and, on the other, spreading the idea of that “chaos” and “discouragement” are rampant in the ranks of the Russian Army.

President Biden himself reinforced this Thursday the image of Putin as an isolated man, whose collaborators do not dare to tell him, for fear of reprisals, the “bad news” about the “incompetence” of his people in the war in Ukraine, and about the real scope of the sanctions in the domestic economy. “There is a lot of speculation, and although I am not absolutely certain, he seems to be isolated. And there are indications that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers, ”he said in a meeting with the press.

The statements of the US president came to join the chorus of voices that on Wednesday in Washington supported that story from the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House. The next day, senior Defense Department officials and “independent analysts” quoted by New York Times They said that the main problem facing Russia, which, according to calculations, accumulates casualties of between “7,000 and 15,000 soldiers”, is, in addition to the unexpected ferocity of the enemy, militarily supplied by the West, the fact that it lacks a “commander in chief” to lead the invasion on the ground. The decisions, they say in Washington, are being made from Moscow by Putin himself, the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigú (whose absence from the public scene has fueled speculation about his fall from grace) and the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov. And it is not easy to lead a military campaign 800 kilometers away, add the sources cited by the New York newspaper.

Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, returned Thursday to Biden’s remarks. What certainties do you have about these arrests of Putin advisers? Bedingfield said that he lacked more information than that offered by his boss, but assured that the US intelligence services have observed “that this invasion has been a strategic failure for Putin and for Russia, a country for which all this can only be defined as a disaster”. She clinched: “Morale among the military is low. And I think that’s not a surprise to anyone.”

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Vladimir Putin addresses a meeting with members of the Russian Security Council from a residence outside Moscow on Friday.
Vladimir Putin addresses a meeting with members of the Russian Security Council from a residence outside Moscow on Friday.SPUTNIK (via REUTERS)

Of course, it does not seem surprising in the United Kingdom, which has abounded these days in the same argument. First it was, on Wednesday, Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of the United Kingdom’s electronic surveillance agency, who, visiting Australia, spoke of the incompetence of the Russian troops, as well as the problems of military supply and provisioning of the Army . He also said that UK intelligence services have indications that some soldiers have surrendered or sabotaged their own vehicles to avoid fighting.

On Thursday, Ben Wallace, the British defense minister, added that “Putin is no longer as strong as he was. He is now rather a man captive in the cage that he built for himself. Isolated by international sanctions and with the whole world against him. His Army is exhausted,” Wallace maintained. “Russia’s reputation as a great military has been shattered and he now has to live with the consequences of not only what he is doing to Ukraine, but also what he has done to his own military.” .

Military analysts describe these consequences in the United States with images of convoys being ambushed and damaged tanks getting stuck in the mud. Of generals killed (at least seven, according to the Ukrainian calculation, which also points to significant casualties in the rank of colonels), in an amount that had not been seen since World War II and in a tremendously hierarchical army in which, headless the units, they are disoriented.

Meanwhile in Russia a Levada Center survey, a non-governmental demoscopic company based in Moscow, figures that Putin receives 83% of his support (14 points more than in January). And that, despite something that seems clear, even in the battle of data and cross-propaganda between the two powers: the Russian president miscalculated his forces when initiating the invasion of Ukraine. He thought it would be a quick win story, and it’s already been five weeks of military setbacks.

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