Russia invades Ukraine: Furious Russian president reportedly holed up in mountain lair

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “furious” that his invasion of Ukraine hasn’t been “easy” after Russian troops have been unable to take even one major city in three days of fighting, according to a member of the European Union Parliament who said he was citing Ukrainian intelligence reports.

“Putin is furious, he thought that the whole war would be easy and everything would be done in 1-4 days,” Riho Terras, who is also the former defence chief of NATO member Estonia, said in a lengthy thread on Twitter.

“The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered,” Terras said. He claimed the report shows they don’t have a “tactical plan” to take a Ukraine that is fighting back, stating that the entire invasion plan relied on “sowing panic among civilians and armed forces and forcing (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy to flee”.

Terras posted an image of what appeared to be an intelligence report written in Russian that said, “Putin is raging. He was sure it would be a cake walk.”

Terras, citing the intelligence report, said the Russian military has enough rockets only for three or four days, and with the new sanctions imposed will not be able to replace their depleted weapons. “There are not enough weapons,” the intel report said in two different spots.

“If Ukraine manages to hold the Russians off for 10 days, then the Russians will have to enter negotiations,” Terras wrote, noting that the war is costing 20 billion rubles ($350 million) a day. “Because they have no money, weapons, or resources.”

According to Terras, Putin was holed up in his “lair in the Urals”, and brought Russian oligarchs with him so they couldn’t flee the country.

Map shows plan has changed

The Institute for the Study of War has revealed its latest analysis of the movements of Russian troops in Ukraine as the invading forces suffer unexpectedly stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops.

The mapping shows Russian troops have occupied areas around Chernobyl, land near Kharkiv, a zone north of Crimea and the two rebel regions Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

The think tank said, “Russia has failed to encircle and isolate Kyiv with mechanised and airborne attacks as it had clearly planned to do.

“Russian forces are now engaging in more straightforward mechanised drives into Kyiv along a narrow front on the west bank of the Dnipro River and on a broad front to the northeast.”

The Russian forces have temporarily abandoned their efforts to seize Chernihiv and Kharkiv to the northeast and east of Kyiv and are bypassing those cities to continue their drive on Kyiv, ISW said.

The think tank added that Russian successes in southern Ukraine are the most dangerous for Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion force is being slowed and frustrated by unexpectedly stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops, keeping them outside Kyiv, a senior US defence official said on Saturday.

The United States and Western allies are still able to deliver arms into the country to bolster the Ukraine military, and Washington plans to send more in the coming days to help them fight both Russian armour on the ground and assaults from the air, the official said.

According to Pentagon information, Russia now has at least 50 per cent of its massive invasion force inside Ukraine.

But the force is making slow progress on its original three-front thrust due to unexpectedly stiff resistance, the official told reporters, on grounds of anonymity.

There are also reports on social media of Russian military vehicles running out of fuel and troops going hungry.

“We have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the north parts of Ukraine,” the official said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “is not going Vladimir Putin’s way” as the UK’s Ministry of Defence confirmed the aggressor had yet to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine, reducing the effectiveness of the Russian Air Force.

“Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to put up staunch resistance across the country,” the MoD said.

“Russian casualties are likely to be heavy and greater than anticipated or acknowledged by the Kremlin.”

James Heappey, the UK’s Armed Forces minister, told the Telegraph: “After three days of intense fighting, spurred by dogged Ukrainian resistance, Russia is well behind its planned timeline.

“Progress to Kyiv has been much slower than they’d expected, they were unable to take key cities early and now must try to bypass them.

“This leaves pockets of well-armed and well-trained Ukrainians to the rear of the Russian front line, exposing a vulnerable logistics tail – an omen for what awaits Putin.”

In Moscow on Saturday the defence ministry said the Russian army had been ordered to broaden its offensive after Kyiv declined an offer of talks in Russia-allied Belarus.

“Today all units were given orders to develop the advance from all directions in accordance with the operation’s plans,” Russian army spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced.

– additional reporting Telegraph

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