U.S. Intel Suggests Putin Advisers Misled Him

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about Russian forces’ performance in Ukraine, according to a U.S. official.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday to discuss the recently declassified intelligence finding, said that Putin has felt misled by the Russian military and there is now persistent tension between him and senior Russian defense officials.

The official did not detail underlying evidence for how U.S. intelligence made the determination.

But the intel community has concluded that Putin was unaware that the military had been using and losing conscripts in Ukraine. They also have determined Putin is not fully aware of the extent to which the Russian economy is being damaged by economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and allies.

The findings demonstrate a “clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information” to Putin, and show that Putin’s senior advisers are “afraid to tell him the truth,” the official said.