Mar 31, 2022
Jeremy Fleming on Russia Misjudging Ukraine Resistance Transcript
Director General of the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters Jeremy Fleming says Russian President Vladimir Putin “massively misjudged” the resistance of the Ukrainian people on March 31st, 2022. Read the transcript here.
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Jeremy Fleming: (00:01)
Believe it or not, it’s only 36 days since Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked and premeditated attack on Ukraine. It’s been shocking in every sense of the word, but it wasn’t surprising. We’ve seen this strategy before. We saw the intelligence picture building and now we’re seeing Putin trying to follow through on his plan, but it is failing, and his plan B has been more barbarity against civilians and cities. It’s clear that he plays by different moral and legal rules. Far too many Ukrainians and Russians have already lost their lives and beyond this toll, many, many more have had their lives shattered. The UN estimate is that in just over a month, more than 10 million people have already fled their homes. It’s a humanitarian crisis that need never have happened and it’s not over yet.
Jeremy Fleming: (01:08)
It increasingly looks like Putin has massively misjudged the situation. It’s clear he’s misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanize. He underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime, and he overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory. We’ve seen Russian soldiers short of weapons and morale refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft. Even though we believe Putin’s advisors are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgments must to be crystal clear to the regime.
Jeremy Fleming: (02:05)
This week, the Russian MoD stated publicly that they will drastically reduce combat operations around Kiev and a city in the north. It looked like they had been forced to make a significant change, but then they proceeded to launch attacks in both those places. Mixed messages or deliberate misinformation, we’ll have to see how it unfolds. But in any event, it all adds up to the strategic miscalculation that our leaders warned Putin it would be. It’s become his personal war with the cost being paid by innocent people in Ukraine and increasingly by ordinary Russians, too.
Jeremy Fleming: (02:56)
Through the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, we’ve seen sustained intent from Russia to disrupt Ukrainian government and military systems. We’ve seen what looks like some spillover from activity affecting surrounding countries, and we’ve certainly seen indications, which suggest Russia’s cyber actors are looking for targets in the countries that oppose their actions.