Mar 30, 2022 - World

Pentagon: "We would concur" with reports that Putin "not fully informed"

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Pentagon concurs with reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has "not been fully informed" by his advisers about the developments of the war in Ukraine, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a briefing Wednesday.

Driving the news: Reports emerged Wednesday alleging that U.S. and European Union officials believe Putin has been misinformed by his advisers as to Russia's performance in the war, at least in part because some of his senior advisers were afraid to tell him the truth, Reuters reported.

What they're saying: "We would concur with the conclusion that Mr. Putin has not been fully informed by his Ministry of Defense at every turn over the last month," Kirby said.

  • "I want to caveat that we don't have access to every bit of information that he's been given or every conversation that he's had. ... We have seen these press reports attributed to a U.S. official and we would concur with the basic finding."

The possibility of Putin being "misinformed or uninformed" about what is happening inside Ukraine would "be an issue of concern" for both Ukraine and the U.S.' European allies and partners, Kirby noted.

  • "It's his military. It's his war. He chose it. And so, the fact that he may not have all the context, that he may not fully understand the degree to which his forces are failing in Ukraine, that's a little discomforting."
  • "One outcome of that could be a less-than-faithful effort at negotiating some sort of settlement here."

The big picture: Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that Russian forces have intensified their attacks on Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, despite earlier claims by Russian officials that they would scale back military operations near those cities in order to facilitate steps toward a potential peace deal.

  • Kirby said during the briefing that over the last 24 hours, less than 20% of the Russian battalion tactical groups arrayed against Kyiv were "beginning to reposition."
  • While some of the troops are repositioning into Belarus, "none of them" have repositioned to their home garrison, Kirby said.
  • Some troops arrayed against Chernihiv and Sumy are repositioning, Kirby added.

The bottom line: "If the Russians are serious about deescalating — because that's their claim here — then they should send them home. But they're not doing that, at least not yet," he said.

  • "Our assessment would be ... that they're going to refit these troops, resupply them and then probably employ them elsewhere in Ukraine."
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