Kremlin insiders 'feel Ukraine invasion was a 'catastrophic' mistake
Growing number of Kremlin insiders ‘feel Ukraine invasion was a ‘catastrophic’ mistake that will set Russia back for years… but Putin is dismissing all criticism of his plan’
- Kremlin insiders said Ukraine invasion will ‘doom’ Russia to years of isolation
- They warn Russia will be left with a crippled economy due to global sanctions
- It comes as Russian force’s death toll rose to 20,900 according to Kyiv estimates
A growing number of senior Kremlin insiders are said to feel Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a ‘catastrophic’ mistake that will set Russia back for years amid growing military losses and crippling sanctions imposed by the West.
The insiders said the Russian strongman is dismissing all criticism by officials who warn of the damaging political and economic cost of his war plan.
The ten sources, who wished to remain anonymous, told Bloomberg that they believe Putin will continue with his invasion and the move will ‘doom’ Russia to years of isolation and tension with other countries.
The Kremlin insiders warned Russia will be left with a crippled economy and limited global influence.
They also voiced fears that Putin could turn to using nuclear weapons if his invasion of Ukraine fails.
The warning comes as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine suffered another devastating blow today after his force’s death toll rose to 20,900 according to Kyiv estimates.
After weeks of having their assaults on Kyiv and other cities thwarted at every turn by battling Ukrainian troops, Putin’s commanders retreated and are now refocusing their efforts on the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, along with other regions of Ukraine’s eastern flank.
A growing number of senior Kremlin insiders are said to feel Vladimir Putin’s (pictured today) invasion of Ukraine was a ‘catastrophic’ mistake that will set Russia back for years amid growing military losses and crippling sanctions imposed by the West
The warning comes as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine suffered another devastating blow after his force’s death toll rose to 20,900 according to Kyiv estimates. Pictured: A damaged Russian tank near Kyiv on Tuesday
Despite mobilising a force of between 150,000 and 200,000 Russian troops at the start of the invasion on February 24, Moscow failed to anticipate anything other than weak resistance by the Ukrainian forces – likely owing to Russian intelligence failures.
Since Russia’s invasion, Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s corporate and financial system.
Putin has claimed Russia’s economy and financial system withstood the blow from what he called the Western sanctions ‘blitz’ and insisted the move would backfire by driving up prices for essentials such as fertiliser, leading to food shortages and increased migration to the West.
Despite Putin’s faltering invasion, which saw Russian troops retreat from Ukrainian cities and instead focus on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, the leader said his war effort is going to plan as he vowed Russia would triumph in all of its ‘noble’ war aims.
But Kremlin insiders, who are fearful of speaking out, said officials have told Putin that the economic impact of the sanctions, which have targeted the Kremlin, Russian oligarchs and the financial system, will be devastating.
Yet Putin has stuck to his line and said that whilst Russia pays the cost of the sanctions, he was forced by the West to wage a war against Ukraine, the sources said.
A Kremlin insider last month said that ‘no one calculated’ the West’s strict financial sanctions, such as the banning of Russians banks from the use of the SWIFT banking system because Putin had kept his invasion plans secret from most of the leadership.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the Russian security services, said frustration inside the Federal Security Service about the faltering invasion is growing. Sources said they had expected the fighting would last a few weeks. The war is now in its seventh week.
Russian military vehicles move on a highway in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces near Mariupol on Monday
Ukrainian servicemen inspect a destroyed Russian tank in Rusaniv, in the outskirts of Kyiv
Only one veteran Kremlin has quit so far. Anatoly Chubais, an economist and special envoy to international organisations for Putin since 2020, quit and left Russia with no intention to return allegedly in a protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chubais has not yet said why he resigned nor where he intends to go after leaving Russia, and hung up the phone when contacted by Reuters – though sources have said he is opposed to the war in Ukraine.
But many within the Kremlin are too fearful to quit and leave their positions.
‘Putin has built his regime mainly on stoking public support, which has given him the means to control the elite,’ Tatiana Stanovaya of political consultant R.Politik, told Bloomberg.
‘There’s no room for disagreement or discussion, everyone must just get on with it and implement the president’s orders and as long as Putin keeps the situation under control, people will follow him.’
The senior powerbrokers in Moscow political circles and in military, security and civil services are said to have been largely kept in the dark about Putin’s invasion plans. Most are thought to have believed that the build up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders was a bluff to force concessions, and a war would never happen.
The government was only aware that Putin planned to recognise the two Kremlin-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, formulating its economic policies on the understanding that sanctions would be relatively light.
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