Russian intelligence services asked to postpone the invasion of Ukraine, but Putin ignored them

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergei Naryshkin and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, watches a gala on the eve of Service Personnel Day security in Moscow, Russia, on December 19, 2019. (Sputnik /Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS) (SPUTNIK/)

As a former director of FSBthe Russian intelligence agency, would be supposed to Vladimir Putin value the opinion of your secret agents above all others. But the facts show the opposite: the Russian president ignored the suggestion of the spies deployed in Ukraine to postpone the invasion due to its risks, as revealed by a new report from a prestigious British think tank.

According to the analysis of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the oldest group of defense and security experts in the world, the Russian special services recruited a “great network of agents” in the Ukraine before the invasion of Moscow. According to the report, it is likely that the FSB received orders to prepare plans for an occupied Ukraine already in the summer 2021.

Moscow has tried to place high-ranking agents in Ukraine to run their own networks, instead of taking over operations from Russia. According to the British investigation, the Russians could count on about 800 officials.

Russian forces have been able to “corrupt targets” and recruit under false flag operations to build these “big networks quickly“, according to the report. In false flag operations, the Ukrainians may think they are working on behalf of kyiv, and their actions ultimately benefit Moscow.

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Putin’s decision to ignore intelligence information led to fierce Ukrainian resistance surprising Russian troops, who had to give up their original goal of conquering the capital kyiv. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File) (Mikhail Klimentyev/)

who know infiltrated Ukrainian political or economic elites they could then “recruit people not as Russian agents, but as their personal clients thus unknowingly furthering Russian interests,” according to the report, which added that many agents working for Russia had been in the place for decades.

He Russian espionage obtained concrete results. Thanks to his activities on the ground, Russian Intelligence knew that the invasion would be difficult and suggested to Vladimir Putin postpone it for better preparation. A prudent attitude that, however, was not accompanied by the Russian president, convinced of a quick military victory and the disintegration of the government of Volodimir Zelensky.

According to RUSIthe intelligence services committed a mistake in seconding this conviction of the Russian president. For British analysts, the agents lacked honesty and transparency, ultimately deciding to endorse the Kremlin’s plans with false reports. “positives” about the situation.

This dynamic was evident in an episode that occurred in front of the cameras when, on the eve of the invasion, Putin publicly humiliated his spymaster abroad. Sergey Naryshkinwho had dared to suggest a diplomatic step and was pressured until he answered what the president wanted to hear.

Putin’s decision to ignore intelligence information meant that, once the invasion began, the fierce Ukrainian resistance surprised the Russian troops, who had to give up their original goal of conquering the capital kyiv.

The RUSI report also warned that the Russian spy ring remains “viable” more than a year after the start of the invasion, “providing a constant stream of intelligence human to the Russian forces.

Furthermore, while some of those working on behalf of the Kremlin have been identified, many, and their operations, have yet to come to light.

“A significant part of Russian agents both in Ukraine and in other countries continue to operate actively”wrote the British analysts.

However, Russia has so far not provoked the “internal political crisis” for which the “ workedpowerful agents of state authorities” of Ukraine, according to the report.

At the same time, Ukrainian authorities have focused on identifying citizens collaborating with Russian forces. Thousands of people accused of collaborating with Russia have been detained since the start of the war.

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