VLADIMIR Putin believed NATO would disintegrate and Western countries beg Russia not to harm them after he invaded Ukraine, leaked spy docs show.
As the Russian death toll in the Ukraine war passes the 150,000 mark, fresh evidence is emerging about just how deluded the Russian tyrant was about a quick victory.
Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine just over a year ago in the belief he could secure a lightning victory by seizing the capital Kyiv and “decapitating” the leadership in three days.
But the hours and days after the war began, the chilling sight of helicopters swarming towards Kyiv gave way to harrowing images of charred armoured columns ambushed by Ukrainians.
Leaked documents from inside the FSB security service, obtained by The Sun Online, reveal that Putin expected the West to quake in fear after a lightning victory then for NATO to collapse.
They come from a source known as Wind of Change and were sent to Russian human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of Gulagu, which highlights abuses in the country’s prisons.
The emails are believed to originally be the work of one FSB officer but it’s thought several now contribute to the emails.
Putin has cited Poland and the Baltic states joining NATO as a security threat and used it to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
In one email sent soon after the invasion, Wind of Change outlines what Putin imagined would happen after he invaded and that included bringing NATO to heel.
There would be an ultimatum issued to the West to accept the Russian occupation and a no-fly zone declared over Poland and the Baltic states.
Chillingly Russia’s “nuclear triad would be activated”, says the source, referring to land, air and submarine launched nuclear weapons.
That would lead to the “withdrawal of several countries from NATO” and possibly the European Union.
All of which would lead to a “fundamental collapse of the West within the time allotted (by Putin) after the ultimatum was issued”.
Terrified Western countries would issue “separate appeals to Russia that they are not conducting aggressive actions against Russia and they are not part of the possible war”.
All this would lead to Russia having power comparable to the former Soviet Union, which the source refers to by its formal title, the USSR.
Putin, who served in the Soviet-era KGB, has previously called the collapse of the, which was ruled from Moscow, as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century,
“Russia’s strength in position (for negotiations) will be comparable to that of the USSR,” writes Wind of Change.
“In the future, this will allow Russia to take political control of a number of countries that were part of the USSR. NATO as an integral structure will cease to exist.”
That would lead to a “fundamental collapse of the West” with some countries even willing to accept missile strikes on Poland and the Baltic states.
Keir Giles, a Russia expert at foreign policy think-tank Chatham House, says “it’s pretty plausible” that Putin had these pre-war aims.
“One of the reasons why Putin’s invasion of Ukraine took so many in the West by surprise was because it made no sense – unless you were within Putin’s mind.
“What had happened over the preceding year was that having emerged from his hermit-like seclusion in Covid, he had a radically different view of the world.
“What we couldn’t see was how all of these different ideas about the state of Russia and the world outside would layer on each other to deliver him on to an entirely different plane of reality.
Giles, the author of Russia’s War on Everybody: And What it Means for You, said that treaties with NATO proposed by Putin before the war laid out all the aspirations described by the FSB insiders.
“Holding back the power of the United States, taking away the protection of NATO from the countries of eastern Europe and allowing Russia to have free reign over countries Putio thinks should be under Moscow’s domination.
“It was entirely reasonable to think there would be countries within NATO that would not withstand this process and with break-off from those members of the alliance determined to resist Russia.
“This has been borne out by the behaviour of Germany, which since the invasion of Ukraine has had to be bullied and cajoled into doing the right thing.”
Charles Dunst, author of ‘Defeating the Dictators: How Democracy Can Prevail in the Age of the Strongman’ said the outcome of the war has been the opposite of what Putin wanted.
“Putin’s expectations that Western unity would dissolve amid his war in Ukraine were staggeringly misplaced,” he said.
“Rather, his invasion of Ukraine has strengthened bodies like NATO and prompted European countries themselves to consider life without Russian energy.”
Putin’s quest for a quick victory, shaped by getting intelligence he wanted to hear, soon became clear.
The initial attempt to seize Hostomel airport and use it to pour in reinforcements ended in humiliation when the elite Russian paratroopers given the task were obliterated.
Not even Putin’s generals were safe as they began to get picked off and killed as they went to the front in a bid to turn around the faltering campaign.
The first wave of troops sent across the border soon became snarled up in a 40 mile “convoy of death” with the Russians picked off by a squad of intrepid Ukrainians with drones.