Putin thought ‘he could capture Kyiv in three days’, leaked docs claim
Vladimir Putin initially thought Russia could defeat Ukraine and overthrow its government in just three days, according to leaked FSB intelligence.
Almost exactly a year since Putin launched his disastrous invasion of Ukraine, the leaks appears to confirm what has long been suspected: FSB spies had been feeding him false intelligence in the build-up to the war which told the Russian despot exactly what he wanted to hear.
According to the leaks, first published by The Sun, Putin’s spies assured him there were over 2,000 armed and trained Ukranians in every city who were waiting to rise up and topple Zelensky before welcoming the Russians with open arms.
The report comes from a source known as Wind of Change and was initially sent to Vladimir Osechkin, a Russian human rights activist and founder of ‘Gulagu’, an organisation which highlights abuses in the country’s prisons.
The emails were initially thought to be the work of a lone FSB officer, but it is now believed several people contributed to the leak.
‘We issued reports that at minimum about 2,000 trained civilians in every major city in Ukraine were ready to overthrow Zelensky,’ the source said.
‘And that at least 5,000 civilians were prepared to come out with flags against Zelensky on the beck-and-call of Russia.’
Wind of Change then explains that the FSB thought that once Zelensky had been overthrown, the Ukrainians would then fight amongst themselves to win Putin’s favour.
‘Do you want a laugh?,’ says the source.
‘We were expected to be the arbitrators for crowning Ukrainian politicians who were supposed to start tearing each other apart competing for the right to be called aligned with Russia.’
Russian troops came within 19 miles of Kyiv but were defeated around April last year, forcing the Kremlin to refocus their efforts on the east of the country.
Experts have put the Russian failure to secure victory on a range of things including poor intelligence, equipment and tactics.
According to Winds of Change, nobody among the Russian leadership had a backup plan ready in case they failed to take the Ukrainian capital.
‘“What if it doesn’t work?” This question was left unanswered when they planned to take Kiev in three days,’ they said.
Since then Russia has gone on to suffer as many as 200,000 casualties as well as a number of humiliating defeats, including losing Black Sea flagship the Moskva and the partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to occupied-Crimea.
Meanwhile Zelensky remains in power and has seen his approval ratings amongst Ukrainians skyrocket to over 90% since the conflict began, rising from a pre-war nadir of just 27%.
In a defiant video address this morning, Zelensky recalled the terror unleashed a year ago by the Russian assault, triggering Europe’s biggest and deadliest war since the Second World War.
He said February 24, 2022, the date of the Russian invasion, was ‘the longest day of our lives’.
‘We survived the first day of the full-scale war. We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but we clearly understood that for each tomorrow, you need to fight. And we fought,’ he said.
Ukraine’s defence chief also congratulated the country’s armed forces for rebuffing an enemy ‘that terrified the whole world’.
‘Our soldiers and the entire Ukrainian people took up a fight many in the world considered hopeless,’ Oleksiy Reznikov said in an address posted on Facebook on Friday.
‘You rebuffed the enemy’s army, which terrified the whole world. But it turned out to be powerless against Ukrainians, who are defending their home and their loved ones, fighting for their land,’ he added.
Mr Reznikov said Kyiv will fight until it takes back all territory captured or annexed by Russia, and until the danger from Moscow is ‘eliminated’.
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