Moore posted “Running out of steam…” above an earlier tweet from Britain’s defense ministry, which described the Russian government as “growing desperate” and having lost thousands of soldiers in its invasion of Ukraine.
“They will have to pause in some way,” MI6 chief Richard Moore said in an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto at the Aspen Security Forum — rare public comments by the serving head of British intelligence.
He estimated that Russian forces had lost around 15,000 troops, calling the figure a “conservative estimate.” Moore noted that this is roughly the number of casualties suffered by Russia’s military during its ten-year war in Afghanistan.
A pause by Russian forces would “allow the Ukrainians to strike back,” Moore said on Thursday. He stated that Ukrainian forces’ morale is still high and that the military is receiving powerful weapons from the West.
Moore urged the continuation of the flow of weapons so that Ukraine could either win the war or be in a better position to negotiate with Russia.
He also praised Western solidarity in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. “NATO has proven extraordinarily united in the face of this,” Moore said, noting that Sweden, along with Finland, had abandoned 200 years of military nonalignment to seek membership in the alliance.
Moore called Russia’s invasion a “epic fail” because the invading forces were not prepared for the stiff resistance they would face. “They obviously misunderstood Ukrainian nationalism.” They completely underestimated the level of opposition the Russian military would face.”
According to Moore, Russian officials also failed to accurately convey to President Vladimir Putin the challenges of the invasion and the costs to Russia. “It doesn’t pay to speak truth to power” in Putin’s government.
In the run-up to the invasion and in the months since, there has been widespread speculation that Putin is ill, possibly with cancer, and that he has become more eccentric and irrational. Moore, on the other hand, dismissed rumors that Putin is ill, saying, “There is no evidence that Putin is suffering from serious ill health.”
His remarks echoed those of CIA Director William J. Burns, who earlier this week joked that “as far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy.”
The US is also considering sending more advanced weapons to Ukraine, as Kiev fears that Russian forces will become more entrenched if the war continues into winter. “It will certainly be more difficult after winter, when the Russians will have more time to dig in,” Ukraine’s president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Tuesday.
According to Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., chief of staff of the United States Air Force, these weapons could include warplanes.