- Ukrainian spies sneaked into Russia before the invasion and saw drunken Russian troops, the Washington Post reported.
- The troops reportedly traded fuel and other supplies for alcohol, leaving vehicles stranded.
- The Post’s 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 monitor the Russian military and encountered “many” drunken soldiers, according to a new report from the Washington Post.
The Russian troops had apparently traded fuel and other supplies for alcohol. “Many of them were drunk,” a Ukrainian official who saw reports from the spies told the Post.
Their observations, including tank formations without crews or maintainers, suggested that Russia was unprepared for war and reportedly sparked 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 made progress nonetheless.
The Post’s report, which relies heavily on a wealth of sensitive material collected by Ukrainian officials and other security forces, provides intricate details about Russian intelligence failures prior to the war.
Russia began laying the groundwork for an invasion years ago, according to the report, cultivating a significant network of agents in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the government and subjugating the former Soviet republic.
Prior to the invasion, it was widely believed that if Russia launched a military incursion it could defeat Ukrainian forces within days, but that’s how the conflict has gone now.
The Russian army failed to take Kiev, as the Ukrainian army resisted much stronger than many expected. The battle has now gone on for nearly six months, with Russia making only incremental progress as the conflict has turned into a war of attrition.
In many ways, the invasion was humiliating for the Russian army, which suffered massive losses in troops and equipment.
According to the Post’s report, Russia’s primary espionage agency, the FSB, bears much of the responsibility for the failed war plans and hubris that were the catalyst for the Russian military’s ambitious goals.
For example, the FSB is said to have given the Kremlin misleadingly positive ratings that suggested Ukrainians would welcome Russia with open arms.
“There was a lot of wishful thinking,” a senior Western security official told the Post, adding that the FSB felt “there would be flowers in their path.” The FSB apparently thought that a swift attack would quickly topple the Ukrainian government. But according to the Post’s report, FSB officers eventually withdrew from Kiev along with Russian troops.
Previous reports suggested Putin was given bad information because his advisers are “too scared” to give him a negative rating. Individuals who have angered or displeased the Russian leader have sometimes died in violent or mysterious ways, while others have 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 being crippled by sanctions because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” a US official said. March. .
“Putin,” the official said, “was not even aware that his army was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, demonstrating a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president.”