The head of M16 believes that Russian president Vladimir Putin has suffered a "strategic failure" in the war with Ukraine.
Richard Moore, the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service, admits the war is far from being over, but has claimed that the Russian advance could "run out of steam" very soon.
Russia is desperate to boost the country’s military manpower and the age limit for service has been raised to 50, while war chiefs are offering £640-a-month with free medical and dental care.
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The measures are part of preparations for a new winter offensive – indicating the war will drag on into next year.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the US, he said: “He has suffered a strategic failure in Ukraine. It is obviously not over.
“The Russian forces have made some incremental progress over recent weeks and months, but it is tiny amounts. We are talking about a small number of miles of advance. When they take a town, it is obliterated.
“They are about to run out of steam. Our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower over the next few weeks.
“They will have to pause in some way and that will give Ukrainians opportunities to strike back. Their morale is still high. They are starting to receive increasing amounts of good weaponry.”
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With winter coming and the pressure on gas supplies, “we are in for a tough time”, according to Moore, who believes a Ukrainian fightback could spread benefits across Europe.
He said: “It is important to the Ukrainians themselves that they demonstrate their ability to strike back. It will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a winnable campaign by the Ukrainians.”
Moore said there is no evidence that Putin is suffering from serious ill health and that going into the invasion “the reality of what they were about to encounter was just not being briefed up” to the Russian leader.
The invasion has triggered widespread sanctions against the Russian regime.
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