Biden says Putin appears to be ‘self-isolating’ from advisers as invasion of Ukraine stalls

Reality of Ukraine invasion is causing fractures between Putin and top military chiefs, president claims

Biden: Putin appears to be 'self-isolating' from advisers
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President Joe Biden claimed on Thursday that Vladimir Putin appears to be “self-isolating” from his closest advisers including his top intelligence officials as his invasion of Ukraine appears to be largely stalled across the country.

In an address announcing efforts to lower gas prices, which the US have blamed on the efforts to divest from Russian oil as well as inflation, the president explained that he didn’t “want to put too much stock” in the reports but essentially confirmed reporting that has for weeks indicated that a major rift exists between Mr Putin and his top aides and strategists.

“He seems to be self-isolating, and there’s some indication that he has um...fired or house-arrested some of his advisers,” said the president, adding that he was waiting for more “hard evidence” on the issue.

Mr Biden’s remarks come after it was reported that the head of the Russian FSB’s Fifth Service, in charge of providing Mr Putin inteligence ahead of the invasion of Ukraine, was put under house arrest along with a top deputy earlier in March.

US intelligence reports released on Wednesay also indicated that the federal government and US intelligence community believes that Mr Putin’s own advisers lied about or misrepresented the military situation in Ukraine to the Russian president after it began for fear of angering their boss.

One official who remained anonymous to discuss US intelligence even told The Associated Press that there was a “clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information” to Mr Putin. According to the official, that breakdown of information extends to the damage that US-led sanctions are causing to Russia’s economy.

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Wednesday that the findings depicted a “strategic blunder” by Vladimir Putin’s government. She refused to speculate on what Mr Putin’s next moves might be.

Nato forces estimated last week that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian troops, including conscripts, have been killed so far in the fighting. The number is staggering and would represent a greater loss of life for the Russian military than the US suffered in nearly 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Russia’s military has claimed it is withdrawing troops from the regions around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, in recent days as experts point to the decision as evidence of Moscow’s failure to capture the seat of Ukraine’s government and depose its western-supporting president, Volodymyr Zelensky. US officials have urged caution in regards to believing those claims, which officials have stated may be a pretense to the redeployment of troops to the Donbas or other contested areas.

The US and other western countries have vowed to continue supplying Ukraine with military, economic and humanitarian aid as the Russian invasion enters its second month and has yet to result in the uncontested capture of any major civilian centers.

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