Russia-Ukraine live updates: Putin ‘massively misjudged’ invasion, UK spy chief says

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(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.” Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as other major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Mar 31, 4:32 am
Putin ‘massively misjudged’ invasion of Ukraine, UK spy chief says

Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently “massively misjudged” his invasion of Ukraine, a U.K. intelligence chief said Thursday.

“It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanize. He underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime, and he overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory,” Jeremy Fleming, head of the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), said during a speech in Australia’s capital, Canberra.

“We’ve seen Russian soldiers, short of weapons and morale, refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft,” he added.

While Fleming agreed with a recent assessment by U.S. intelligence that Putin’s advisers were believed to be too afraid to tell the truth, he said the “extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.” He warned that Russia is searching for cyber targets and bringing in mercenaries to reinforce its stalled military campaign in Ukraine.

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