Russia is running out of weapons for its war in Ukraine and the costs to the Kremlin are “staggering” in terms of soldiers killed and equipment lost, a UK 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 senior intelligence official will also speak on China, the main focus of his remarks.
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He will say that Beijing is trying to exploit technologies in space and online in ways that could pose a “major threat to all of us.”
Sir Jeremy will point to concerns about the Chinese government potentially targeting opponents’ satellites at a time of conflict, crippling a crucial domain the military relies on to launch weapons and communicate. He fears the technology could also be used to track people.
He will also say the Chinese Communist Party is “learning lessons” from Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has seen the UK and its allies 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 that apply to Vladimir Putinthe regimen of .
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The western allies are watching Porcelain up close amid President Xi Jinping’s concerns could be considering an invasion of the island of Taiwanusing the lessons learned from Russia’s attack on Ukraine to bolster 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 he failed to seize Kyiv in the early days of the war and failed to make the gains he wanted to make in the east.
“It is a high-risk strategy that leads to strategic errors of judgement,” Sir Jeremy will say, according to excerpts from the speech published on Monday night.
“Your profits are reversing. The costs to Russia, in people and equipment, are 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 recruits, speaks of a desperate situation.
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The main focus of the speech will be on China and the critical importance of Western allies staying in the race for technological advantage.
The GCHQ director will highlight the paradox that “the great force combined with the fear of Beijing is driving China into actions that could pose a great threat to all of us.”
Speaking of the enormous importance and daily impact of emerging 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 in the that a seemingly inconsequential event – catching a train before the door closes or getting lost – has huge implications.
The spy chief will stress the need to ensure Western allies have technological solutions that are not dependent on China given the divergence of values between democratic and authoritarian regimes.
“At GCHQ it is our privilege and duty to see the sliding door moments of history,” he will say.
“This feels like one of those moments. Our future strategic technological advantage is based on what we do next as a community. I’m confident that together we can tilt that in our collective favor.”
Highlighting the dangers of inaction, he will accuse the Chinese government of using its financial and scientific clout to manipulate key technologies like satellite systems and digital currencies to expand its sphere of influence and bolster its power at home.
He will speak specifically about the BeiDou satellite system that the authorities have forced Chinese citizens and businesses to adopt and export around the world.
Sir Jeremy will say: “Many believe that China is building a powerful anti-satellite capability, with the doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of a conflict. And there are fears that the technology could be used to track people.”
He will also talk about central bank digital currencies that allow China to monitor user transactions.
Furthermore, the GCHQ chief will say how a centralized digital currency could “allow China to partially evade the kind of international sanctions that are currently applied to the Putin regime in Russia.”