- Ukrainian spies infiltrated Russia before the invasion and saw drunken Russian troops, the Washington Post reported.
- Troops reportedly traded fuel and other supplies for alcohol, leaving vehicles stranded.
- The Post report details how intelligence failures derailed Russia’s war plans in Ukraine.
In the days leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, Ukrainian spies were sent to Russia to keep an eye on the Russian military and encountered “many” drunken soldiers. according to a new report from the Washington Post.
Russian troops had apparently exchanged fuel and other supplies for alcohol. “Many of them were drunk,” a Ukrainian official who saw the spy reports told the Post.
His observations, which also included tank formations without crews or maintainers, suggested Russia was unprepared for war and reportedly fueled a degree of disbelief among some officials in Ukraine that Russia would actually attempt an invasion. In many ways, as has since been shown, Russia was not ready, but it moved forward anyway.
The Post’s report, which draws heavily on a trove of sensitive materials collected by Ukrainian officials and other security services, offers intricate details about Russian intelligence failings before the war.
russia started laying the groundwork for an invasion years agoaccording to the report, and cultivated a significant network of agents in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the government and subjugating the former Soviet republic.
Before the invasion, it was widely believed that if Russia launched a military incursion, it would be able to defeat the Ukrainian forces in a matter of days, but that is how the conflict has played out now.
The Russian army was unable to take Kyiv, as the Ukrainian army put up much tougher resistance than many expected. The fighting has now lasted nearly six months, with Russia making only incremental progress as the conflict has morphed into a war of attrition.
In many respects, the invasion has been humiliating for the Russian army, which has suffered massive losses of troops and equipment.
Russia’s main spy agency, the FSB, bears much of the responsibility for the failed war plans and overconfidence that catalyzed the Russian military’s ambitious goals, according to the Post report.
The FSB, for example, allegedly offered the Kremlin misleadingly positive assessments suggesting that the Ukrainians would welcome Russia with open arms.
“There were a lot of wishful thinking,” a senior Western security official told the Post, adding that the FSB had a feeling “there would be flowers strewn their way.” Apparently, the FSB thought that a quick attack would quickly topple the Ukrainian government. But, according to the Post report, the FSB officers eventually ended up withdrawing from Kyiv along with the Russian troops.
Earlier reports suggested that Putin was misinformed because his advisers are “too scared” to give him negative assessments. People who angered or displeased the Russian leader sometimes ended up dying violently or mysteriously, while others ended up in prison.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how poorly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is performing.” crippled by sanctions because his top advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” a US official said in late March.
“Putin,” the official said, “didn’t even know his army was using and losing recruits in Ukraine, showing a clear break in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president.”