Russia is running out of weapons as it faces a “staggering” number of casualties, spy chief says | World news

Russia is running out of weapons for its war in Ukraine and the cost to the Kremlin is “staggering” in terms of soldiers killed and equipment lost, a British spy chief will say.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, will use a rare public speech on Tuesday to say that the Ukrainian armed forces are “turning the tide” on the physical battlefield as well as in cyberspace.

The top intelligence officer will also talk about China – the main focus of his comments.

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He will say that Beijing is seeking to exploit technologies in space and online in ways that could pose a “tremendous threat to all of us”.

Sir Jeremy will flag concerns about the potential for the Chinese government to target adversary satellites in a time of conflict, disrupting a crucial domain relied on by militaries to launch weapons and communicate. It is feared that the technology can also be used to track people.

He will also say the Chinese Communist Party is “learning the lesson” of Russia’s war in Ukraine, where Britain and its allies have hit the Russian economy with sanctions.

Sir Jeremy will outline how Beijing could use digital currencies to track people’s transactions and also help protect its economy from the kind of sanctions being applied to Vladimir Putin‘s regime.

Communications satellite orbiting the Earth.  File image
Picture:
A communications satellite orbiting the Earth. File image

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Western allies are watching China closely under the concern of President Xi Jinping may be considering an invasion of the island of Taiwanusing the lessons learned from Russia’s attack on Ukraine to strengthen its defenses against any Western response.

In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, the director of GCHQ will touch on the war in Ukraine.

He will call Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making “flawed” after a failure to capture Kyiv in the early days of the war and a failure to make the gains he had wanted to make in the east.

“It is a high stakes strategy that leads to strategic errors of judgement,” Sir Jeremy said, according to excerpts of the speech published on Monday evening.

“Their gains are being reversed. The cost to Russia – in people and equipment is staggering. We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and ammunition are running low.

“Russia’s forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners to reinforce, and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts, speaks of a desperate situation.

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War with China ‘not an option’

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The main content of the speech will be about China and the critical importance of Western allies staying in the race for technological advantages.

The head of GCHQ will highlight a paradox in that Beijing’s “great power combined with fear is driving China to actions that could pose a huge threat to us all”.

When talking about the enormous importance and impact on everyday life of new technologies, Sir Jeremy will refer to a “sliding door moment” in history, using the rather unusual analogy of the 1998 romantic comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow, where a seemingly insignificant event – catching a train before the door slides shut or missing it – has enormous consequences.

The spy chief will stress the need to ensure that Western allies have technological solutions that are not dependent on China, given the divergence in values ​​between democratic and authoritarian regimes.

“At GCHQ it is our privilege and duty to see the sliding door moments of history,” he says.

“This feels like one of those moments. Our future strategic technological advantage rests on what we as a society do next. I am confident that together we can tilt it to our collective advantage.”

Highlighting the dangers of inaction, he will accuse the Chinese government of using its economic and scientific influence to manipulate key technologies such as satellite systems and digital currencies to expand its sphere of influence and tighten its grip on power at home.

He will specifically talk about the BeiDou satellite system, which the authorities are forcing Chinese citizens and companies to adopt and export around the world.

Sir Jeremy will say: “Many believe that China is building a strong anti-satellite capability with a doctrine to deny other nations access to space in the event of a conflict. And there are fears that the technology could be used to to track individuals.”

He will also talk about central bank digital currencies that allow China to monitor users’ transactions.

In addition, the GCHQ chief will say how a centralized digital currency could “enable China to partially evade the kind of international sanctions that are currently being applied to Putin’s regime in Russia”.

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