Sir Jeremy Fleming told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We believe that Russia is running short of munitions, it’s certainly running short of friends.
“We’ve seen, because of the declaration for mobilisation, that it’s running short of troops. So I think the answer to that is pretty clear. Russia and Russia’s commanders are worried about the state of their military machine.”
He added: “The word I’ve used is ‘desperate’. We can see that desperation at many levels inside Russian society and inside the Russian military machine.
“It certainly doesn’t imply complacency.
“Russia, as we’ve seen in the dreadful attacks yesterday, still has a very capable military machine. It can launch weapons, it has deep, deep stocks and expertise. And yet, it is very broadly stretched in Ukraine.”
Fleming added that talk of nuclear weapons in relation to Russia’s war with Ukraine was “very dangerous.” He said: “I think any talk of nuclear weapons is very dangerous, and we need to be very careful about how we’re talking about that.”
Suggesting that GCHQ has not seen any signs of Russia preparing for use of nuclear weapons, he added: “They (Russia) are staying within the doctrine that we understand for their use, including for nuclear weapons.
“I would hope that we would see indicators if they started to go down that path. But let’s be really clear about that – if they are considering that, that would be a catastrophe in the way that many people have talked about.”
Further clarifying that part of GCHQ’s role is to look for those indicators, Sir Jeremy said: “It is in part to look for those indicators, yes.”
The Ministry of Defence said in their latest intelligence update that Russian Ministry of Defence announced that General Sergei Surovikin had been appointed as overall commander of its Joint Group of Forces conducting the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.
In their intelligence update they said Surovikin “will likely have to contest with an increasingly factional Russian MOD which is poorly resourced to achieve the political objectives it has been set in Ukraine.”