US President Joe Biden on Thursday said there’s some indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating and punishing some of his advisers, but added that the US does not have much hard evidence to say that with certainty.
When CNN’s MJ Lee asked the President how badly the Russian president is being misinformed by his advisers, Biden responded:
“That’s an open question. There’s a lot of speculation, but he seems to be – I’m not saying this with a certainty – he seems to be self-isolating and there’s some indication that he has, um, fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers. ”
“But I don’t want to put too much stock in that at this time, because we don’t have that much hard evidence,” he added.
US government officials have expressed confidence this week in the intelligence assessment indicating Putin was being led astray by military advisers on the success of the Russian military’s performance during the war, which has gone on for more than a month.
Biden also noted that he is “skeptical” that Putin will withdraw all of his forces from around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
“Thus far there is no clear evidence that he’s pulling all of his forces out of Kyiv,” Biden said. “There’s also evidence that he is beefing up his troops down in the Donbas area. Depending on your view of Putin, I’m a little skeptical. ”
He added, “I don’t know the answer, but it appears so far that he has not pulled all of – the idea he’s pulling of his troops out from around Kyiv and moving south, there’s no evidence that he’s done that,” Biden told reporters following remarks on the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Biden, however, added that there is evidence that Putin is “beefing up” his forces in the Donbas area of Ukraine.
What Moscow is saying: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Thursday before Biden spoke that Moscow finds it worrisome that the US allegedly lacks understanding of Moscow’s decision-making process, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
Dismissing comments from the US on Wednesday that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers, the Kremlin said it regrets that its style of work remains unclear to Washington, and such “misunderstanding” results in “careless decisions that have very bad consequences,” Peskov said , according to TASS.
CNN’s Zahra Ullah contributed reporting to this post.