Russian Elites May Blame Others for Ukraine War: Western Officials

  • Russian elites will likely blame each other for Russia’s “disastrous progress” in its war with Ukraine, Western officials said Tuesday.
  • “People are going to be quite defensive about their own failures,” a Western official told reporters.
  • There has been “considerable evidence of unease about the way in which the invasion has panned out for Russia amongst the Russian elite,” the official said.

Russian elites will likely blame each other for Russia’s “disastrous progress” in its more-than-month-long war with Ukraine, Western officials said on Tuesday.

“It’s also likely that within the Russian system various elements are going to be blaming each other for the lack of success” in Ukraine, a Western official speaking on the condition of anonymity told reporters.

The official added, “People are going to be quite defensive about their own failures, and I think, looking to point the finger at others.”

Additionally, the official said, there has been “considerable evidence of unease about the way in which the invasion has panned out for Russia amongst the Russian elite broadly defined.”

“The question as to who has ultimate power in this is in one sense an easy one to answer, and in one sense a difficult one,” the official said. “In an easy sense, it’s obviously only one man — and that is [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”

The official added, “The difficult part is who gets to influence him, and indeed, even if they were capable of influencing him, would they be prepared to tell him the truth about the fairly disastrous progress of this campaign.”

The official said that the West is “much less certain” that Putin “is getting an honest picture on the ground” in Ukraine.

“That’s one of the reasons why Western media, Ukrainian media, is important in continuing to make sure the reality of this conflict, and how it is causing not only death and destruction to the Ukrainians, but a great deal of death to the Russian forces as well,” the official said.

Putin launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

And in the weeks since, Russian troops have surrounded and shelled several towns across the eastern European country, hitting multiple civilian targets, including residential buildings and hospitals.

Though Ukraine’s armed forces, aided by civilians, have been greatly outnumbered and outgunned by Russian troops, the Ukrainians have managed to put up a fierce resistance, which has resulted in a mounting Russian death toll and a largely stalled invasion.

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