Russia is running out of guns as it faces ‘appalling’ toll of casualties, spy chief says world news
Russia is running out of arms in its war in Ukraine and the cost to the Kremlin in terms of soldiers killed and equipment lost is “staggering”, a British spy chief will say.
Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, will say in a rare public speech today that the Ukrainian armed forces are “turning the tide” on both the physical battlefield and cyberspace.
The top intelligence officer will also talk about China – the main focus of his comments.
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He will say Beijing is trying to use technology in space and online in ways that could pose a “great threat to all of us”.
Sir Jeremy will raise concerns about the potential for the Chinese government to target adversary satellites in times of conflict, crippling a crucial area militaries rely on for weapon launch and communications. There are fears that the technology could also be used to track people.
He will also say that the Chinese Communist Party is “learning the lessons” of Russia’s war in Ukraine, in which the UK and its allies have hit the Russian economy with sanctions.
Sir Jeremy will describe how Beijing could use digital currencies to track people’s transactions and also help protect its economy from the type of sanctions that are being imposed Wladimir Putin‘s regime.
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In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, the Director of GCHQ will address the war in Ukraine.
He will describe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making as “flawed” after he failed to capture Kyiv in the first days of the war and failed to make the gains he wanted to make in the east.
“It’s a high-stakes strategy that leads to strategic misjudgments,” Sir Jeremy will say, according to excerpts of the speech published on Monday evening.
“Your gains will be reversed. The cost to Russia – in terms of people and equipment – is staggering. We know – and the Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and ammunition are running low.
“Russia’s armed forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners as reinforcements and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts speak of a desperate situation.
“They are fleeing conscription and realize they can no longer travel. They know that their access to modern technology and external influences will be drastically limited. And they feel the magnitude of the terrible human cost of his favorite war.”
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The speech will focus on China and the vital importance of Western allies staying in the race for technological advantages.
The head of GCHQ will highlight a paradox that Beijing’s “great strength combined with fear is driving China into actions that could pose a great threat to all of us.”
Sir Jeremy talks about the tremendous importance and influence of new technologies on daily life and refers to a “sliding door moment” in the story, using the rather unusual analogy of the 1998 romantic comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow, in which a seemingly trivial event – catching a train before the door slides shut or misses – has huge repercussions.
The spy chief will underline the need to ensure that Western allies have technological solutions that do not rely on China, given the divergent values between democratic and authoritarian regimes.
“At GCHQ, seeing the sliding door moments of the story is our privilege and our duty,” he will say.
“This feels like one of those moments. Our future strategic technology advantage depends on what we do next as a community. I am confident that together we can turn this in our favor.”
He stressed the dangers of inaction and accused the Chinese government of using its financial and scientific clout to manipulate key technologies such as satellite systems and digital currencies in order to expand its sphere of influence and consolidate its domestic power.
In particular, he will talk about the BeiDou satellite system, which the authorities have forced Chinese citizens and companies to launch and export around the world.
Sir Jeremy will say: “Many believe that China is building a powerful anti-satellite capability, with the doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of conflict. And there are fears the technology could be used to track individuals.”
He will also talk about central bank digital currencies that allow China to monitor users’ transactions.
Additionally, the GCHQ chief will say how a centralized digital currency “could enable China to partially evade the kind of international sanctions currently being imposed on Putin’s regime in Russia.”