Western intelligence agencies are waging a psychological war over Ukraine directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an expert at the genre, who is now effectively taking a dose of his own medicine.
The United States and its allies are painting a picture of a bogged down, demoralized and dysfunctional Russian military taking disastrous losses on the battlefield, and are simultaneously conjuring a vision of growing political tension inside the Kremlin.
They claim the Russian leader is isolated, poorly advised and lacking real intelligence on just how badly the war is going.
Western governments are preventing Putin from defining the narrative of the war.
It is a tough position for a Russian leader who has often deployed information warfare himself, notably while meddling in US and European elections.
The remarkable detail of the declassified intelligence assessments must also be especially galling to Putin, a former KGB officer and intelligence chief. And they leave open the possibility that Western intelligence agencies have the capacity to see deep into the Kremlin's war effort and internal politics, which is likely to infuriate the Russian leader and could open further cracks in his regime.
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