Putin Unaware of Facts on Ground in Ukraine, US Official Says

Russian president Vladimir Putin / Getty Images
March 30, 2022

Vladimir Putin is being "misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions," a U.S. official told the media on Tuesday.

The official told multiple news outlets, including NBC and Fox News, that "Putin didn't even know his military was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president."

Putin's "senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth," the official said.

U.S. government sources have said for weeks that Putin is increasingly isolated, even from his own advisers. The Russian president reportedly placed foreign intelligence chief Sergey Beseda under house arrest, a sign that Putin is likely dissatisfied with his intelligence services. Days before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Putin publicly humiliated another spy chief, Sergei Naryshkin.

The U.S. official's statement comes the day after the Russian defense ministry said it will "dramatically reduce" military activity in northern Ukraine. Both the Biden administration and Ukrainian leaders have expressed skepticism about that supposed reduction.