Russia is out of arms for its war in Ukraine and the costs to the Kremlin are “staggering” in terms of soldiers killed and equipment lost, a British spy chief will say.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, will use a rare public address on Tuesday to say that Ukraine’s armed forces are “turning the tide” on the physical battlefield as well as in cyberspace.

The senior intelligence officer will also talk about China – the main focus of his comments.

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He will say that Beijing is looking to exploit technologies in space and online in ways that could pose a “huge threat to all of us”.

Sir Jeremy will report concerns that the Chinese government could target satellites of opponents in times of conflict, crippling a crucial area the military relies on to launch weapons and communicate. There are fears that 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 saw the UK and its allies hit the Russian economy with sanctions.

Sir Jeremy will describe how Beijing could use digital currencies to track people’s transactions and also help protect its economy from the type of sanctions applied to Vladimir Poutine‘s scheme.

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A communications satellite orbiting the Earth. File Picture

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Western allies are watching China as close as possible to the concerns of President Xi Jinping could consider an invasion of the island of Taiwanusing lessons learned from Russia’s attack on Ukraine to strengthen its defenses against any Western response.

In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, the director of GCHQ will address the war in Ukraine.

He will call Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making ‘flawed’ following his failure to seize Kyiv in the early days of the war and his failure to achieve the gains he wanted to make in the war. is.

“It’s a high-stakes strategy that leads to strategic errors of judgement,” Sir Jeremy will say, according to excerpts from the speech made public on Monday evening.

“Their gains are being undone. The costs to Russia – in people and equipment are staggering. We know – and the Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and ammunition are running out.

“The Russian forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners for reinforcement, and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts, speaks of a hopeless situation.

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The bulk of the speech will focus on China and the critical importance for Western allies to stay in the race for technological advantage.

The head of GCHQ will point out a paradox that “Beijing’s great strength combined with fear is pushing China into actions that could pose a huge threat to us all.”

Speaking of the enormous importance and impact on everyday life of emerging technologies, Sir Jeremy will refer to a ‘sliding door moment’ in history, using the rather unusual analogy from the 1998 romantic comedy starring starring Gwyneth Paltrow in which a seemingly inconsequential event – catching a practice before the door closes or misses it – has huge implications.

The spy chief will stress the need to ensure Western allies have technological solutions that do not rely on China given the divergence in values ​​between democratic and authoritarian regimes.

“At GCHQ, it is our privilege and our duty to see the sliding door moments of history,” he will say.

“This feels like one of those times. Our future strategic technology advantage hinges on what we do next as a community. I’m confident that together we can swing this in our collective favor.”

Highlighting the dangers of not acting, he will accuse the Chinese government of using its financial and scientific influence to manipulate key technologies such as satellite systems and digital currencies to expand its sphere of influence and tighten its grip on power in him.

He will specifically talk about the BeiDou satellite system that the authorities 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 a doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of a conflict. And there are fears that technology can be used to track individuals.”

He will also talk about central bank digital currencies that allow China to monitor user transactions.

Additionally, the GCHQ boss will explain how a centralized digital currency could “enable China to partially escape the kind of international sanctions currently applied to Putin’s regime in Russia.”

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