Advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin may be misleading the president, feeding him good news as the war with Ukraine has raged on, the White House said this week.

Driving the news: White House spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said Wednesday the U.S. had information that Putin “felt misled by the Russian military,” which led to “persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership.”

What she said: “We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” she said, per The Washington Post.

The other side: Per BBC News, Putin’s chief spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the United States doesn’t “understand what’s happening in the Kremlin, they don’t understand President Putin, they don’t understand how decisions are taken and they don’t understand the style of our work.”

  • He said this is a problem “because such total misunderstanding leads to wrong decisions which have bad consequences.”
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The bigger picture: Russian military announced earlier this week that it will look to “dramatically reduce” attacks around Kyiv and Chernihiv in Ukraine as peace talks continue between the two countries, as I reported for the Deseret News.

The decision to reduce its military operations is a major shift in Russia’s strategy, U.S. intelligence officials said.

  • Officials told CNN that the U.S. assumes “Russia will cover their retreat with air and artillery bombardment of the capital.”
  • “Russia could always reverse again if the battle conditions allow,” according to CNN.