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drama in the kremlin

Putin is 'being misinformed' because advisers are 'too afraid' to tell him the truth, says U.S. official

The U.S. believes advisers to Vladimir Putin are misinforming the Russian president about the performance of the Russian military in Ukraine and the effect sanctions will have on the Russian economy because they're too scared to tell the truth, an American official told CNN on Wednesday.

"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," the official said, pulling from now-declassified U.S. intel.

That said, the U.S. has information indicating the Russian president is now aware of the misdirection, "leading to a rift between Putin and his top defense officials," the official went on.

"We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military," the official said. "There is now persistent tension between Putin and the [Ministry of Defense], stemming from Putin's mistrust in MOD leadership."

The U.S. official also added that Putin was unaware the Russian military was "using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president."