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Moscow Calls US Intelligence on Putin’s Military Advice a ‘Complete Misunderstanding’

todayMarch 31, 2022

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The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed American intelligence showing that President Vladimir V. Putin has been misinformed about his military’s struggles in Ukraine, and warned that such a “complete misunderstanding” of the situation in Moscow could have “bad consequences.”

Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, also played down the notion that a meeting between Mr. Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine could take place in April.

“It turns out that neither the State Department nor the Pentagon have real information about what is happening in the Kremlin,” Mr. Peskov told reporters. “They do not understand President Putin, they do not understand the decision-making mechanism and they do not understand the efforts of our work.”

Mr. Peskov was responding to declassified U.S. intelligence released on Wednesday that American officials claimed showed growing tension between Mr. Putin and the Ministry of Defense, including with the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu.

Some tensions have come into the open, such as when Mr. Peskov said on March 9 that some defense officials had disobeyed Mr. Putin’s instructions not to send conscripts into battle in Ukraine. And Mr. Shoigu’s fate was the subject of widespread speculation when he was not seen publicly for a nearly two-week stretch this month, before he re-emerged last week.

But Mr. Peskov said the United States was grossly misinformed.

“This is not only unfortunate, but also a cause for concern,” he said.

Separately, Mr. Peskov said that before any meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky could take place, a draft peace agreement would need to be finalized and approved by senior officials from both sides. That seemed to slightly backpedal from an accelerated timeline that the Kremlin’s chief negotiator laid out at the Russia-Ukraine talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.

“Only after that can a meeting at the highest levels be discussed,” Mr. Peskov said.

Original story from https://www.nytimes.com

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