US President Joe Biden said Thursday that there are some indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin is isolating himself and punishing some of his advisers, but added that the United States does not have much solid evidence to say with certainty.
When CNN’s MJ Lee asked the president how badly his advisers had misled the Russian president, Biden replied:
This is an open question. There is a lot of speculation, but it seems that – I’m not saying this for sure – he appears to be aloof and there is some indication that he has fired or placed some of his advisers under house arrest. ”
“But I don’t want to put too much stock in it right now, because we don’t have a lot of solid evidence,” he added.
US government officials expressed confidence this week in an intelligence assessment that military advisers are misleading Putin about the Russian military’s successful performance during the war, which has lasted for more than a month.
Biden also indicated that he was “skeptical” that Putin would withdraw all his forces from the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
Biden said: “So far there is no clear evidence that he is withdrawing all his forces from Kyiv. There is also evidence that he is strengthening his forces in the Donbass region. Depending on your view of Putin, I am a little skeptical.”
“I don’t know the answer, but so far it seems that he hasn’t pulled out all of the — the idea that he’s withdrawing his forces from all over Kyiv and moving south, there’s no evidence that he’s done that,” Biden told reporters following comments on the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
However, Biden added that there is evidence that Putin is “reinforcing” his forces in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
What does Moscow say: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier Thursday before Biden spoke that Moscow is concerned about the United States’ lack of understanding of Moscow’s decision-making process, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported.
The Kremlin denied comments from the United States on Wednesday that its advisers were misleading Putin, and said it regretted that its modus operandi remains unclear to Washington, and that this “misunderstanding” is leading to “indifferent decisions with very serious consequences,” Peskov said. According to TASS.
CNN’s Zahratullah contributed to this posting.