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    WASHINGTON (AP) — Top U.S. intelligence officials were questioned Tuesday about why they misjudged the durability of governments in both Afghanistan and Ukraine, and whether they need to reform how intelligence agencies assess a foreign military’s will to fight. U.S. intelligence believed the U.S.-backed Kabul government would hold out for months against the Taliban and thought Russian forces would overrun Ukraine in a few weeks. Both assessments were wrong. The U.S. and Western allies are now rushing to aid Ukraine’s resistance against Russia in what has turned into a grinding, violent stalemate. “What we missed was the will to fight of the Ukrainians…and we also missed that in Afghanistan,” said Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added, “I realize will to fight is a lot harder to assess than number of tanks or volume of ammunition or something. But I hope the intelligence community is doing some soul-searching about how to better get a handle on that question.” President Joe Biden’s administration disclosed in advance Russian President Vladimir...
    Intelligence from the United States helped Ukraine thwart a key Russian aerial operation, according to a new report. U.S. intelligence sharing with the Ukrainian military has proven to be a tremendous factor, as it has helped them both prevent and launch their own attacks. Near the beginning of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, which commenced Feb. 24, U.S. intel provided to the Ukrainians helped defeat a Russian operation that was meant to wrest control of Hostomel Airport near Kyiv by shooting down a Russian transport plane carrying hundreds of troops, according to NBC News. Had Russia been able to maintain control of the airport — its forces captured it for a short time — Moscow could have used it to solve many of its supplies and logistical problems. US LOOKING FOR UKRAINE TO CREATE 'WEAKENED' RUSSIA TO DETER FUTURE INVASIONS Various U.S. defense and intelligence officials have spoken in broad terms about the intelligence sharing with the Ukrainians while frequently choosing not to get into specifics. In a statement, a spokesperson for the National Security Council told the outlet, “We are...
    The director of the CIA said that China is 'a silent partner' when it comes to Russian President Vladimir Putin's 'aggression' in Ukraine. William Burns spoke bluntly Thursday and warned China posed the 'greatest challenge' and 'most profound test' the agency has ever had to deal with, as he marked his first year in charge of the agency with a speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology on Thursday. Burns highlighted the 'immediate threat posed by renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine,' and the 'longer term problem posed by China's ambitious leadership,' declaring it to be 'the single most important geopolitical challenge' of the 21st century.' 'A silent partner in Putin's aggression, Xi Jinping's China is our greatest challenge, in many ways the most profound test the CIA has ever faced,' Burns said as he called China a 'formidable competitor lacking in neither ambition nor capability.' 'It seeks to overtake us in literally every domain, from economic strength to military power, and from space to cyberspace,' adding China is 'intent' on replacing the U.S. as 'the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific.' 'As an intelligence service,...
    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said for the first time on Thursday that the U.S. is helping Ukrainian troops with intelligence to help them fight Russian forces.  The Biden administration has been wary of doing anything that could be seen by Moscow as an escalation of the conflict, and that could be used for Russia to broaden the war. But with Russia shifting its focus away from Kyiv to the eastern Donbas region, Austin revealed on Thursday that the U.S. was helping Ukrainian forces there.    'We are providing them intelligence to conduct operations in the Donbas, that's correct,' he said in response to questioning by Sen. Tom Cotton during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added that new guidance would be sent on Thursday to ensure that U.S. officials were aware of that position.  His comments reflect the new geography of the war in Ukraine as well as increasing openness among American officials to discuss intelligence and training support. US officials have previously said they are supplying intelligence to Ukraine. But in a sign of how the conflict...
    China have been accused of launching a flurry of cyber attacks on Ukraine's military and nuclear infrastructure days before Russia's invasion - indicating initial support for Putin's war. Intelligence memos from the SBU, Ukraine's spy agency, claim that more than 600 websites belonging to Ukraine's ministry of defence were attacked by the Chinese government, according to The Times. Despite the Chinese government's lukewarm public reaction to the invasion of Ukraine, the move indicates prior knowledge of the invasion plans on the part of Xi Jinping's government before troops entered on February 24. The cyber attacks indicates prior knowledge of the invasion plans on the part of Xi Jinping's government before Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24
    The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed about how poorly his troops are performing in Ukraine, officials revealed on Wednesday. The result is tension between the Russian leader and his Ministry of Defense, according to newly declassified intelligence. Details emerged on day 35 of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, where the main Russian advances have been stalled for weeks.  But Putin has been oblivious that his armed forces were using and losing conscripts, according to the official.    'We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership,' said White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, confirming an earlier briefing by an unnamed official. '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.'     White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said Wednesday that  President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed about how poorly his troops...
    (CNN)The top US general in Europe said Tuesday there "could be" an gap in US intelligence gathering that caused the US to overestimate Russia's capability and underestimate Ukraine's defensive abilities before Russia attacked Ukraine.When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last month, US intelligence assessed that the country-wide assault could lead to Kyiv falling into Russian hands within days. But Russia's military has been bogged down around the capital as the war has entered its second month, beleaguered by sustainability and logistics problems, along with an unexpected stiff resistance from Ukrainian fighters.Testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, US European Command chief Gen. Tod Wolters was asked by Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, if there was an intelligence gap that caused the US to overestimate Russia's strength and underestimate the Ukrainian defenses."There could be," Wolters responded. "As we've always done in the past, when this crisis is over with, we will accomplish a comprehensive after-action review in all domains and in all departments and find out where our weak areas were and make sure we can find...
    There is a “realistic possibility” that Russian forces “facing considerable supply and morale issues” may be encircled by Ukrainian counter-attackers near Kyiv (Kiev). “Ukraine is increasing pressure on Russian forces north-east of Kyiv. Russian forces along this axis are already facing considerable supply and morale issues,” the British government’s Ministry of Defence asserted in a Defence Intelligence update on Wednesday. “Ukrainian forces are carrying out successful counter attacks against Russian positions in towns on the outskirts of the capital, and have probably retaken Makariv and Moschun,” they continued, adding that “There is a realistic possibility that Ukrainian forces are now able to encircle Russian units in Bucha and Irpin.” BBC editor Jeremy Bowen has also suggested that Ukrainian troops have been “telling me for a few days that Bucha [is] encircled” and that Russian supply lines in Irpin are being struck.   In this series of exchanges, we hear how comms failures delay urgent requests for Russian air support amid mounting casualties. Thirty minutes after the unit requested help: “You forgot about air support, [expletive] air support! You forgot!” pic.twitter.com/GkGjgFqLne —...
    Russian Wagner group mercenaries have travelled to Ukraine on a mission to assassinate Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, intelligence reports claim.  Intelligence authorities attached to the Ministry of Defence said Russian President Vladimir Putin 'personally ordered another attack by one of his proxies', referring to the Wagner group.  'All previous attempts ended in the failure and elimination' of Wagner mercenaries at the hands of Ukrainian forces, the report added. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and the presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak were listed as among the other alleged assassination targets.  The Kremlin has long denied ties to the Wagner group, a 600-strong mercenary group deployed worldwide to carry out Moscow's dirty work.  Reports have long claimed the force is Putin's personal assassination squad, but are far enough removed from the Kremlin to afford the Russian president plausible deniability.   It is the latest in more than a dozen attempts by both the Wagner group and Chechen special forces to kill the Ukrainian president since Russian troops launched a savage invasion of Ukraine on February 24.   Russian Wagner group mercenaries have travelled...
    Amid heavy fighting north of Ukraine's capital city, the "bulk" of Russian forces remain stalled about 15 miles outside the center of Kyiv, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense. In the U.K Ministry of Defense's latest intelligence update on Monday, it said that Russian forces heading toward Kyiv from the northeast have stalled, and forces advancing from the northwest "have been repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance." The bulk of Russia's forces remain 15 miles north of Ukraine's capital, according to the U.K.'s Defense Ministry. However, Kyiv remains a priority for the Russian army, and efforts to take the capital could escalate soon, the intelligence update warns. "Despite the continued lack of progress, Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective and they are likely to prioritise attempting to encircle the city over the coming weeks," the U.K. Ministry of Defense said. Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 21 March 2022Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/o31FnBRw3w???????? #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/reAkTEnHFj— Ministry of Defence ???????? (@DefenceHQ) March 21, 2022 BELARUS AMBASSADOR'S DEPARTURE FROM UKRAINE SIGNALS...
    Vladimir Putin has sacked his top generals and is 'raging' at the FSB after failed intelligence and poor strategy saw his troops handed a series of embarrassing defeats in the opening days of the war in Ukraine.  Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine's security council, said 'around eight' Russian commanders have been fired since the start of the conflict as Moscow scrambles to change strategy after its attempted 'shock and awe' blitz fell flat. Putin is also said to be infuriated with commanders of the FSB security service - which he used to run - for handing him intelligence suggesting that Ukraine was weak, riddled with neo-Nazi groups, and would give up easily if attacked. Vladimir Putin has fired eight generals and is said to be raging at his FSB secret service over the failures during early fighting in Ukraine (file image) Philip Ingram, a security expert and former senior British intelligence officer, told The Times that Putin is obviously 'very angry' and is blaming his intelligence agencies. 'He blames them for seeding him the advice that led to the poor...
    Russia has admitted sending conscripted soldiers to war in Ukraine despite maintaining for weeks that only professional troops were used to invade Moscow's western neighbour.   Russian defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov admitted on Wednesday that 'we have uncovered several instances of the presence of conscripts in the Russian units taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine.' He confirmed several conscripts were among Russian troops taken prisoner in Ukraine, but declined to give numbers, saying that Moscow was working to secure their release.  Konashenkov also claimed Moscow had already facilitated the return of 'almost all' conscripted servicemen 'back to Russia'.  The admission comes after it was revealed that a series of Russian intelligence failures may have contributed to Moscow's slow progress towards Kyiv since its troops invaded Ukraine on orders from the Kremlin two weeks ago.  Calls between Russian intelligence officials allegedly took place using normal sim cards, rather than the agency's secure communication channel Era, meaning they were intercepted and published by Kyiv.  Russia has admitted sending conscripted soldiers to war in Ukraine despite maintaining for weeks that only professional...
    (CNN)Ukrainian forces have so far managed to stave off Russian ground forces massed less than 20 miles north of the embattled capital Kyiv -- but though they've defied US intelligence predictions that the city would likely fall within one to four days of a full-scale Russian assault, US officials warn that Russian President Vladimir Putin could imminently increase the intensity of the attack.Stiffer than expected Ukrainian resistance and Russia's own logistical missteps have bogged down Russia's advance, US and western officials say, sparking a fragile optimism. The US has also continued sharing downgraded intelligence with the Ukrainians, including about Russian military moves, in an attempt to help Ukraine on the battlefield, two of the sources told CNN. But intelligence and defense officials closely tracking the Russian campaign say that Putin still holds a number of moves in reserve that could devastate the Ukrainian resistance."From a purely military/tactical standpoint, Russia has the manpower and firepower to take Kyiv. No question," said an American source familiar with the intelligence. "And no matter how much resistance the Ukrainians put up." Russia invades UkraineRoughly...
    Vladimir Putin is 'prepared to lose 50,000 troops in the Ukraine invasion as a leaked document from the Russian Ministry of Health has revealed Moscow is preparing for a 'medical emergency. Intelligence chiefs are understood to have said Russia is prepared to lose up to 50,000 troops, while the Russian death toll could already stand at around 3,000. It is feared that Putin will order military chiefs to use 'chemical weapons' and 'attack hospitals' as fighting continues in Ukraine, with Kyiv currently remaining under Ukrainian control.  Weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Mirror: 'If Russia gets bogged down I wouldn't be at all surprised if they used chemical weapons.' Intelligence chiefs are understood to have said Russia is prepared to lose up to 50,000 troops (pictured), while the Russian death toll could already stand at around 3,000 It is feared that Vladimir Putin (pictured) will order military chiefs to use 'chemical weapons' and 'attack hospitals' as fighting continues in Ukraine It comes as a document, signed by Deputy Health Minister Plutnitsky, has asked medical firms to 'be promptly involved in...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — For months, the White House made highly unusual releases of intelligence findings about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attack Ukraine. Hoping to preempt an invasion, it released details of Russian troop buildups and warned repeatedly that a major assault was imminent. In the end, Putin attacked anyway. Critics of U.S. intelligence — including Russian officials who dismissed invasion allegations as fantasy — had been pointing to past failures like the false identification of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But Russia’s invasion so far has played out largely as the Biden administration said it would back i n December, with nearly 200,000 troops striking from several sides of Ukraine. Lawmakers from both political parties on Thursday said the accurate predictions were a credit to the often-criticized U.S. intelligence community. But whether the White House’s unprecedented public campaign delayed or limited Putin’s plans could be debated for years. And some say both Washington and Kyiv could have done more with the information the two governments had beforehand. Ukrainians are fighting a vastly more...
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