In an unrelenting attempt to push Russia on the backfoot, US President Joe Biden has announced another US dispatch worth another $500 million in direct aid to Ukraine. The White House in a statement said Biden told Zelenskyy during a 55-minute call on the latest developments in the war that the aid was on its way.
The US Congress earlier this month approved spending up to $13.6 billion in humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine. The Biden administration had already dispatched $2 billion of that total before Wednesday's announcement.
Meanwhile, US intelligence officials have claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about his nation's forces' poor performance in Ukraine.
The official said that Putin is aware of the situation and there is now persistent tension between him and senior Russian military officials. The Biden administration is hopeful that divulging the finding could help prod Putin to reconsider his options in Ukraine.
The war has ground to a bloody stalemate in much of the country, with heavy casualties and Russian troop morale sinking as Ukrainian forces and volunteers put up an unexpectedly stout defense.
“But the publicity could also risk further isolating Putin, who U.S. officials have said seems at least in part driven by a desire to win back Russian prestige lost by the fall of the Soviet Union,” the US official said.
The official did not detail underlying evidence for how US intelligence made the determination. The intelligence community has concluded that Putin was unaware that his military had been using and losing conscripts in Ukraine.
They also have determined he is not fully aware of the extent to which the Russian economy is being damaged by economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.
The findings demonstrate a “clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information” to Putin, and show that Putin's senior advisers are “afraid to tell him the truth,” the official said.
The new intelligence comes after the White House on Tuesday expressed skepticism about Russia's public announcement that it would dial back operations near Kyiv in an effort to increase trust in ongoing talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials in Turkey.
“We'll see,” Biden said about that announcement. “I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are.” Russian forces pounded areas around Ukraine's capital and another city overnight, regional leaders said Wednesday.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said the administration views any movement of Russian forces as a “redeployment and not a withdrawal” and “no one should be fooled by Russia's announcement.”
Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in the war.
The Biden administration before the war launched an unprecedented effort to publish what it believed were Putin's invasion plans, drawing on intelligence findings. While Russia still invaded, the White House was widely credited with drawing attention to Ukraine and pushing initially reluctant allies to back tough sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy.