Russia-Ukraine latest news: Russian soldiers refuse to carry out orders, says Britain’s spy chief

31 MARCH 2022 •

Some Russian soldiers in Ukraine have refused to carry out orders, sabotaged their equipment and accidentally shot down one of their own aircraft, new intelligence has shown.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “massively misjudged” the capabilities of his armed forces while underestimating Ukraine’s resistance and the West’s resolve, the head of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spy service said.

GCHQ chief Sir Jeremy Fleming said: “We believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth.”

He said there was evidence of low morale among Russian soldiers, who were poorly equipped.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, said on Thursday that his forces are preparing for new Russian attacks in the east of the country as Moscow builds up its troops there after suffering setbacks near Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Sir Jeremy warned China not to become “too closely aligned” with Moscow as it continues to pursue its path of aggression against Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin turns on his military advisers as invasion falters 

The Russian president feels ‘misled’ by spy chiefs and generals over failings of the war, with several being reportedly sacked or arrested, writes Nataliya Vasilyeva.

Vladimir Putin set out to capture Kyiv and topple its government at lightning speed when he launched his invasion of Ukraine under the guise of a “special operation”.

But five weeks into the war, there is mounting evidence that the Russian president is turning on his own spy chiefs and military advisers as his invasion falters.

According to declassified US intelligence reports, Putin feels he has been “misled” by military leaders who have failed to inform him how poorly his campaign in Ukraine is going.

A US official said on Wednesday that Putin “didn’t even know his military was using and losing conscripts”, which was “showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information”.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan: India sitting on the fence in regard to Russian invasion

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary,  said she understands why India has “chosen to sit on the fence” when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but added it is important for countries to stand up for democracy.

Ms Trevelyan told Sky News: “We understand why they’ve chosen to sit on the fence at the moment – they, you know, have connections in both directions.

“But for us, it’s really important to see all countries who believe in democracy and the rule of law, and indeed defending your own territorial borders and wanting to have that sovereignty, you know, respected by those around you, to stand up for that.”

Pictured: A destroyed Russian tank in Trostyanets 

A destroyed Russian tank in Trostyanets 
CREDIT: ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK 

Convoy of buses trying to reach trapped civilians in Mariupol

A convoy of Ukrainian buses set out for the southern port city of Mariupol to try to reach trapped civilians, said Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister.

She said the International Committee of the Red Cross had confirmed that Russia had agreed to open a humanitarian corridor to the besieged city where tens of thousands of civilians remain after weeks of Russian bombardment.

Russian troops eating dogs because they are ‘sick’ of ration packs 

Ukraine’s security service intercepted an audio recording of a call from a soldier to his family, who said they were desperate for meat, reports David Millward.

Russian soldiers are eating dogs rather than the ration packs they have been given, Ukraine’s security service has claimed.

According to a 45-second call from a serviceman to his family, soldiers are “sick” of the ready-to-eat meals they have been given.

An audio recording of the call, which was intercepted by Ukraine’s security service, was posted on Twitter.

The soldier is asked, “Are you eating ok at least?”

He replies, “Not too bad. We had Alabay, (a breed of sheepdog found in Central Asia) yesterday. We wanted some meat.”

China warned about being ‘too closely aligned’ with Kremlin

The head of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters spy service has warned China not to become “too closely aligned” with the Kremlin.

Speaking at the Australian National University in Canberra, Sir Jeremy Fleming said western allies were making “deeply secret intelligence” public to get ahead of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s information war, while also tackling cyber threats.

On China, he said the country’s long-term interests were not well served by an alliance with a leader that “wilfully and illegally” ignores the international “rules of the road”.

Kremlin hunting for cyber targets, says spy chief

Sir Jeremy Fleming, who heads the GCHQ electronic spy agency, has warned that the Kremlin is hunting for cyber targets and bringing in mercenaries to shore up its stalled military campaign in Ukraine.

He praised Volodymyr Zelensky’s “information operation” for being highly effective at countering Russia’s massive disinformation drive spreading propaganda about the war.

While there were expectations that Russia would launch a major cyber attack as part of its military campaign, Sir Jeremy said such a move was never a central part of Moscow’s standard playbook for war.

Taiwan studies Ukraine’s war tactics

Taiwan’s defence ministry has set up a working group to study the tactics of the war in Ukraine, including how the country has been able to hold out against Russia, and has been discussing this with the United States, its minister said on Thursday.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has raised its alert level since the Russian invasion, wary of Beijing possibly making a similar move on the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said they had had “contact” with foreign countries to talk about how the war was being fought.

While Taiwanese officials have seen many parallels in the Ukraine war and their own situation, including having their own giant neighbour with territorial ambitions, they have also pointed to major differences.

Taiwan has talked, for example, of the “natural barrier” of the Taiwan Strait, which would make China putting troops on the ground much more difficult than Russia just crossing over its land border with Ukraine.

Taiwan also has a large and well-equipped air force, and is developing its own formidable missile strike capability.

In pictures: Another day in the life of Ukrainians at war

In pictures: Another day in the life of Ukrainians at war

A man walks in front a destroyed train in the north-eastern city of Trostianets
A man walks in front a destroyed train in the north-eastern city of Trostianets CREDIT: FADEL SENNA/AFP
Elderly people talk outside their apartment building in Kharkiv
Elderly people talk outside their apartment building in Kharkiv CREDIT: ERGEY BOBOK/AFP
Ukrainian soldiers stand next to rubble of a destroyed building in the city of Trostianets
Ukrainian soldiers stand next to rubble of a destroyed building in the city of Trostianets CREDIT:FADEL SENNA/AFP
A resident walks in front of a destroyed building in Trostianets
A resident walks in front of a destroyed building in Trostianets CREDIT: FADEL SENNA/AFP

US considers releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil

The Biden administration is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil over several months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), four US sources said, as the White House tries to lower fuel prices.

The move would mark the third time the US has tapped its strategic reserves in the past six months, and would be the largest release in the near 50-year history of the SPR.

The releases have not managed to lower prices as world demand has nearly reached pre-pandemic levels while supply has tightened globally.

Oil prices have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine and the US.

US President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on Thursday on his administration’s actions, the White House said.

Moscow announces another ceasefire

Russia’s defence ministry announced a local ceasefire on Thursday to allow civilians to be evacuated from Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol.

It said a humanitarian corridor would be opened to Zaporizhzhia with cooperation from the UN refugee agency and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Locals take refuge outside an apartment building damaged in Mariupol
Locals take refuge outside an apartment building damaged in Mariupol CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

But previous attempts to allow civilians out of the devastated town have failed, and Ukraine’s deputy prime minister described the proposal as “another manipulation”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he did not trust Russian claims it would scale back military activity around the capital Kyiv and another city.

“We don’t believe anyone, not a single beautiful phrase,” he said in a video address, adding that Russian troops were regrouping to strike the eastern Donbas region.

US offers another $500m for Ukraine aid

The White House has pledged an additional $500 million (£380 million) in direct aid for Ukraine as the Russian invasion grinds on.

US President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a 55-minute call that the additional aid is on its way.

Володимир Зеленський@ZelenskyyUa

Ukraine government official

Just finished an hour-long conversation with @POTUS. Shared assessment of the situation on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Talked about specific defensive support, a new package of enhanced sanctions, macro-financial and humanitarian aid.

The leaders also reviewed security aid already delivered to Ukraine and the effects that weaponry has had on the war, according to the White House.

One-quarter of humanity live in conflict areas: UN

The United Nations chief said that one-quarter of humanity – two billion people – are living in conflict areas and the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945 when the Second World War ended.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited conflicts from Yemen, Syria, Myanmar and Sudan to Haiti, Africa’s Sahel, “and now the war in Ukraine – a catastrophe shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling across borders and causing skyrocketing food, fuel and fertiliser prices that spell disaster for developing countries”.

He told the UN Peacebuilding Commission that 84 million people were forced to leave their homes last year because of conflict, violence and human rights violations.

The Ukraine war has already seen four million people flee the country and displaced another 6.5 million within the country, according to UN agencies.

Innocent Ukrainians and Russians pay for Putin’s ‘personal war’

Vladimir Putin’s advisers are scared to tell him the truth about the progress of his Ukraine invasion but the extent of the Russian leader’s “misjudgements” must be “crystal clear to the regime”, the head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency said.

In a rare public address during a visit to Australia, Sir Jeremy Fleming said Putin had “massively misjudged the situation”.

“It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people,” Sir Jeremy said.

“He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise. He under-played the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. He over-estimated 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.

“And even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, what’s going on and the extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime.”

Sir Jeremy said it had become Putin’s personal war, “with the cost being paid by innocent people in Ukraine and increasingly, by ordinary Russians too”.

Donetsk offensive operations intensifying

The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said offensive operations were intensifying.

“We are well aware that the longer it takes us to liberate our territory – those settlements that are now under control of Ukraine – the more victims and destruction there will be,” he said.

Donetsk includes the besieged port city of Mariupol, which has seen some of the war’s heaviest fighting and bombardment and where about 170,000 people are trapped with scarce food and water.

“We cook what we find among neighbours; a bit of cabbage, a bit more of potatoes, we’ve found tomato paste, some beetroot,” said former steel worker Viktor from Mariupol.

Metallurgist Viktor, 63, cooks food at the entrance to the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol
Metallurgist Viktor, 63, cooks food at the entrance to the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

They cook using a rudimentary barbecue and sleep in a basement, which he termed their “peaceful oasis”.

Russian forces have taken half of the strategic port city, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Zelensky: Ukraine preparing for new Russian offensive

Ukrainian forces are preparing for new Russian attacks in the east of the country as Moscow builds up its troops there after suffering setbacks near the capital Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.

Tough resistance has prevented Russia from capturing any major city, including Kyiv.

At peace talks this week in Istanbul, Russia said it would curtail operations near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv to build trust.

But Ukraine and its Western allies, including the US, dismissed Russia’s pledge as a ploy to stem its losses and prepare for other attacks.

Russia said its forces were regrouping to focus on “liberating” the breakaway eastern Donbas region.

In an early morning video address on Thursday, Mr Zelensky referred to Russian troop movements away from Kyiv and Chernihiv and said that was not a withdrawal but rather “the consequence of our defenders’ work”.

Mr Zelensky said Ukraine is seeing “a build-up of Russian forces for new strikes on the Donbas and we are preparing for that”.

15 comments

  1. “Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary, said she understands why India has “chosen to sit on the fence” when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but added it is important for countries to stand up for democracy.”
    I appreciate the need for diplomacy with a huge country like India, but this is very shitty.
    I met an Indian the other day who proudly proclaimed his country’s neutrality. The prick said “Russia supported us over Kashmir, so we support them for that.”
    Arsehole.

    • I think it goes way beyond shitty. Any country and I do mean any country or any human being who sits on the sidelines and allows the chief scum bag and his cockroaches to continue killing innocent people are pure pond scum. I thought better of India before this. Now fuck them!!!!

      • Not only India, but China, Turkey, Israel too. None of these countries can be classed as friends of Ukraine, quite the opposite in fact.

        • Turkey is new to me. I thought they always supported Ukraine. China doesn’t surprise me. Israel was a real surprise. Never would have thought that Israel would turn their back on us. But I should have as they never recognized Holodomor

          • Turkey is playing both sides. On the one hand it provides Bayraktars, which have enabled some impressive victories for the defenders, but it also provides safe sanctuary for putinazi oligarchs financial assets.

    • You ought to remind such a jerk off that India buys tons of ruskie weapons, and those weapons are turning out to be more or less junk.

  2. Just saw this on Fox News.

    China says it is seeking closer ties with Russia

    China is seeking closer ties with Russia, even as the U.S. and other NATO nations have called on China to apply more pressure to Moscow amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    China and Russia are “more determined” to tighten their relationship, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

    “Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields,” Wang said.

    “China is willing to work with Russia to take China-Russian ties to a higher level in a new era under the guidance of the consensus reached by the heads of state,” he added.

    Both sides have also condemned what they called illegal counter- productive sanctions against Russia, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

    • Time to sanction bat virus land and especially pulling out our production from there. And, each person can help by trying not to buy anything made in chink land.

  3. China wants the weakened Russia to have more ties with them? Guess who will eventually be the dominant one? Go ahead Russia!! Hahaha

What is your opinion?