Vladimir Putin, an amateur historian, had forgotten one of the great lessons of the second world war -- that the best Soviet soldiers were Ukrainian, commentators have noted, The Guardian reported.
Ukrainian officials have pointed to the increasingly erratic behavior of Putin himself. Speaking before the invasion, a senior Ukrainian intelligence official said Russia's president lived in a strange parallel reality. He had succumbed -- like dictators before him -- to believing his own version of the world, the report said.
"Putin thinks that Ukraine's government is corrupt, western and irredeemably Russophobic," the official said.
"He understood the Ukrainian people, by contrast, would welcome Russia and intervention. He considers us to be rural Russians." Putin's spy agencies had told him what he wanted to hear, he added, The Guardian reported.
The official continued: "We have always understood Russians better than they understand us."
Other commentators noted that Putin, an amateur historian, had forgotten one of the great lessons of the second world war -- that the best Soviet soldiers were Ukrainian, The Guardian reported.
It is impossible to know if there is growing unhappiness within Putin's national security council over the decision to go to war. On the eve of the invasion last week all of its members signed off on Putin's plan to recognise the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics as independent, an act that pushed the button on military action, the report said.
Western defence attaches have claimed that Valery Gerasimov, Putin's most senior commander and the chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces, had warned the president that invading Ukraine might not be straightforward. And so it has proved. For now, though, Russia's military and political leadership are firmly behind the operation.