The UK’s spy chief is expected to say that Russian citizens can now see the mistakes made by their president Vladimir Putin. Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of the Government’s intelligence agency, GCHQ, will make an address at the Royal United Services Institute security lecture. He will say: “They’re [Russian citizens] seeing just how badly Putin has misjudged the situation.”
Another indication that ordinary Russians are being told something closer to the truth about their war in Ukraine is the growing criticism of the military on Russian state TV. But while Kremlin propagandists are starting to question military leaders, some are also calling for huge escalations.
This was seen in a recent Al Jazeera report, which looked into how the Russian media’s coverage of the invasion has changed in recent months. On the episode of ‘The Listening Post’, a clip from Russia’s main news channel shows one pro-Kremlin pundit calling for the UK to be attacked.
The man says: “Why would we need to bomb Ukraine or Germany? There’s Great Britain, the root of all evil.”
Mikhail Fishman, an anchor on Dozhd TV (an independent Russian news channel) told the documentary about how state TV in Russia is used by Putin to send warnings to the West.
He said: “Russian media does a lot of sabre-rattling. Nuclear sabre-rattling at the moment. That’s a controlled narrative effort being built inside the Kremlin. It’s Putin trying to send the message to the West that he will not back off, that this is not a bluff.”
This wasn’t the only time Russian state TV has broadcast threats against the UK. In August, a host said that Britain is the “right size” for an attack.
Anchor, Olga Skabeyeva, added: “Britain’s defence secretary, the famous Ben Wallace, who was not against nuclear weapons for Kyiv, said – and it matters – that all targets in Crimea for a Ukrainian strike could be considered legitimate.
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“What’s more, Britain will hand over three more 270 MLRS to Ukraine, in addition to the three already supplied, plus a significant amount of ammunition….We conclude that Britain wants to openly go to war with Russia. Good luck!
“But first, I would advise you to sort out, or try to sort out, your own economy.”
UK-Russia relations have never been strong, but Moscow is furious with Britain as it has been one of the major supporters of Ukraine since the invasion began in February. The UK has sent long-range rocket systems, anti-tank weapons, short-range missiles and armoured vehicles to Ukraine to boost its military power.
Last month, Prime Minister Liz Truss pledged another £2.3billion’s worth of support while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. She also praised the Ukrainian’s resolve as they continued to make advances.
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Ms Truss said: “Ukraine’s victories in recent weeks have been inspirational. Time and time again these brave people have defied the doubters and showed what they can do when given the military, economic and political support they need.
“My message to the people of Ukraine is this: the UK will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. Your security is our security.”
Last month, Ukraine took back large swathes of territory near Kharkiv, the country’s second-biggest city. They followed this up by driving the Russians out of the city of Lyman, a key area in the east.