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Ukraine news live: Putin’s aides ‘afraid to tell him truth,’ as Russian forces ‘walking away from Chernobyl’

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US intel claims Putin ‘misled’ by Russian military after Ukraine setbacks

Vladimir Putin’s advisers are “afraid to tell him the truth” about his stalling invasion of Ukraine, the head of UK’s GCHQ spy agency is to say.

In a rare public address during a visit to Australia, Sir Jeremy Fleming is expected to say that the Russian president has made a “strategic miscalculation” in launching the invasion.

He will say: “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 misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s troops have reportedly begun withdrawing from the Chernobyl nuclear site in Ukraine to head towards Belarus.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said some Russian troops were leaving from near the Chernobyl power station, but that it was not clear if the troops leaving were departing the exclusion zone around the plant or the surrounding towns.

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UK’s intelligence agency says Putin “massively misjudged” Ukraine

Britain’s spy chief, Sir Jeremy Fleming, will use a rare public speech in Australia on Thursday to outline the ways demoralized Russian soldiers are performing – from shooting down their own aircraft and sabotaging their own equipment to refusing to carry out orders.

Pre-released text of his remarks released to British media Sky News and The Guardian claim Russia’s cyber attackers are “looking for targets” beyond Ukraine in the countries that oppose Putin’s invasion.

He is expected to add that mercenaries from the Wagner private military group are preparing to send larger numbers of personnel to fight in Ukraine, which Putin would likely use as “cannon fodder” to limit military losses.

“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,” his comments say.

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

Justin Vallejo31 March 2022 01:00

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Watch: US intel claims Putin feels ‘misled’ by Russian military after Ukraine setbacks

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said the administration has “information” on the split between Putin and his advisers but did not present the underlying evidence of the claim.

“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly 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,” she said at the White House’s daily briefing.

“So it is increasingly clear that Putin’s war has been a strategic blunder, that has left Russia weaker over the long term, and increasingly isolated on the world stage.”

US intel claims Putin ‘misled’ by Russian military after Ukraine setbacks

Justin Vallejo31 March 2022 00:40

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Ukrainian zoo animals at risk of starvation

Animals in zoos and parks are threatened by starvation while Russia prolongs its onslaught on Ukraine, conservationists in the country say.

Fighting and destruction have devastated areas close to besieged Mariupol and Odesa on the south coast, where several reserves and animal attractions are struggling to keep their animals alive.

Jane Dalton has the story.

Justin Vallejo31 March 2022 00:20

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Russia-Ukraine peace talks to resume after no progress in Turkey

Russia and Ukraine will resume their peace talks online on Friday (1 April) after in-person negotiations in Turkey ended.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations had engaged in talks in Turkey

(Turkish Presidency via AP)

Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said in an online post that Ukraine had proposed the countries’ two leaders should meet.

But Russia responded by saying more work needed to be done on a draft treaty, Mr Arakhamia said.

Earlier, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are continuing “but for the moment there are just words, nothing concrete”.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there were no signs that suggest changes in Russia’s position.

Meanwhile, Ramzan Kadyrov – the head of Russia’s republic of Chechnya – said Moscow would make no concessions amid its war with Ukraine.

Lamiat Sabin30 March 2022 23:59

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Putin’s army ‘defying orders and sabotaging equipment’ – GCHQ

Vladimir Putin’s troops are refusing to follow orders and are “sabotaging their own equipment” as morale among them is low, according to the head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, in a rare public address during a visit to Australia, is expected to say that the Russian president has made a “strategic miscalculation” over launching the invasion of Ukraine.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ

(Joe Giddens/PA)

He is to say: “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 misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.

“It all adds up to the strategic miscalculation that Western 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.”

He will also warn China against becoming “too closely aligned” with Russia amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Lamiat Sabin30 March 2022 23:30

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‘Just words’ at peace talks, as Zelensky expects Donbas attacks

Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are continuing “but for the moment there are just words, nothing concrete”, Volodymyr Zelensky said.

In a televised address, the Ukrainian president also said that his forces were preparing for new attacks by Russia in the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine.

Archive photo of Volodymyr Zelensky

(via REUTERS)

Lamiat Sabin30 March 2022 23:00

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Biden eyes up plans for possible further sanctions against Russia

Joe Biden is looking at ways to impose further sanctions on Russia, and will reveal more of his plans this week.

(Patrick Semansky/AP)

This is according to Kate Bedingfield, spokesperson for the White House.

US president Mr Biden has already imposed a number of economic penalties aimed at punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Lamiat Sabin30 March 2022 22:30

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Russia repositioning fifth of troops around Kyiv – Pentagon

Russia has started to reposition under 20 per cent of its forces placed around Kyiv, the Pentagon said.

But Pentagon spokesman John Kirby warned that Russia was expected to refit and resupply them for redeployment, and not bring the forces home. Some of the Russian forces may have already moved into Belarus, he said.

(AP)

Russian contractor Wagner Group had deployed about 1,000 mercenaries into Ukraine’s Donbas region, which Moscow has declared a priority, Mr Kirby also said.

Lamiat Sabin30 March 2022 21:45

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Russian forces ‘withdrawing’ from Chernobyl – report

Moscow’s troops have begun withdrawing from the Chernobyl nuclear site, AFP reports, citing Pentagon intelligence.

A senior US official said that Russian troops are “walking away” from the facility and going into Belarus.

Al Arabiya’s Joseph Haboush reports:

Sam Hancock30 March 2022 21:10

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Watch: UK to ‘go up a gear’ in military support for Ukraine, says Johnson

UK to ‘go up a gear’ in military support for Ukraine, says Boris Johnson

Sam Hancock30 March 2022 21:00





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