Generals 'afraid to give Putin bad news,' Russia's former PM tells LBC

25 May 2022, 08:03 | Updated: 25 May 2022, 08:10

By Asher McShane

Russia's generals are "afraid" to report defeats suffered by their troops to Vladimir Putin, according to a former Prime Minister of Russia.

Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as Prime Minister of Russia from 2000 to 2004, told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC today that Putin's military commanders are fearful of him, indicating they may be reluctant to give him a true picture of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

He said he doesn't believe Putin is mad, and has no evidence as to whether the Russian president is suffering serious illness, but described the leader as having a "distorted worldview" and being in a "narrow corridor of thinking."

Mr Kasyanov said Putin wasn’t a “weak President who was prepared to come to compromise."

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“I think it is difficult for them [the generals]. They are afraid of the reaction. He was misled to a great extent in the beginning.

“Now those generals are now afraid to report him the actual situation on the battlefield.

“As soon as Russians see Putin as defeated, that’s the beginning of the end of his era.”

The MoD warned today that ‘significant’ supplies of Ukrainian grain cannot be exported and Russia’s blockades of Black Sea ports has deterred commercial shipping fleets from operating in the area. The MoD said resulting supply shortfalls would further exacerbate the price of many staple products.

Mr Kasyanov's comments come after Hungary declared a legal "state of danger" in response to Russia's war in neighbouring Ukraine. It allows the right-wing nationalist government to take special measures without the participation of the legislature.

In a video on social media, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the war in Ukraine represents "a constant threat to Hungary" which was "putting our physical security at risk and threatening the energy and financial security of our economy and families".

In response, he said, a "war state of danger" would take effect beginning on Wednesday, allowing the government "to respond immediately and protect Hungary and Hungarian families by any means possible".

The move came after Mr Orban's ruling party passed a constitutional amendment on Tuesday allowing for legal states of danger to be declared when armed conflicts, wars or humanitarian disasters were taking place in neighbouring countries.

The special legal order permits the government to enact laws by decree without parliamentary oversight, and permits the temporary suspension of and deviation from existing laws.

Hungary's government implemented similar measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to outcry from critics and legal observers, who argued they gave the government authority to rule by decree.

That special legal order was set to expire on June 1.

Mr Orban's government has been accused of eroding democratic freedoms in Hungary since taking power in 2010, and using state resources to cement its power.

The governing Fidesz party won a fourth-straight election victory on April 3, giving Mr Orban, the longest-serving leader in the European Union, an additional four-year term.

In a statement on Tuesday, Emese Pasztor of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union wrote that Hungary's government was "once again adapting the rules of the game to its own needs".

"By always allowing the possibility of introducing a special legal order in the future, it will lose its special character. It will become the new normal, which will threaten the fundamental rights of all of us, and rule by decree will further diminish the importance of Parliament," Ms Pasztor wrote.

Governmental decrees issued through the special legal order are valid for 15 days unless extended by Hungary's parliament.