Speaking to CNN on Sunday, former KGB agent turned writer and producer Jack Barsky recalled his familiarity with Russian President Vladimir Putin as he pushes forward with his Ukraine invasion.

It was revealed Sunday that despite the size of his military vastly outweighing that of Ukraine, Putin is begging China for help as his invasion doesn't appear to be going as well as he expected.

"I have to disabuse you of the notion that the man he is today was trained by the KGB and he got his political skills and whatever he uses from the KGB," Barsky explained. "He was a mid-level bureaucrat in the KGB. He served in the city of Dresden in the '80s, and I happen to have met an ex-boss of his. Oleg Kalugin, in charge of counter-intelligence for the first director of the KGB, which was espionage and he will tell you he was not impressed with Mr. Putin."

Kalugin's criticisms of Putin have earned him enough ire to be declared a Russian traitor in 2002. Putin's first term as president was in 2000.

"Putin is a phenomenal politician, and a master chess player, because, you know, he has been in power for the last 22 years, in a country where the standard of living hasn't much grown," Barsky continued. "Particularly outside of the big cities. So, how he got to who he is today is probably not that relevant, but let's not think that KGB agents are supermen. I am not and I was one of the best-trained agents ever sent out."

Just last week, counter-intelligence expert Frank Figliuzzi, noted that so many of the reports on Putin's mental state are unsubstantiated and it's difficult to discern what is true about Putin and his motivations. That said, he noted that Putin could be worried about those around him.

"There [are] even people using conjecture saying he may fear his own staff at times," said Figliuzzi. "This is someone who's poisoned people. Clearly, he is a cornered person."

CNN host Jim Acosta noted that the former CIA chief of Russia operations said that Putin isn't afraid of those around him like his staff or the oligarchs. Who he is most afraid of are his fellow spies and those in his national security area.

Just days ago, Putin placed the head of his Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) under house arrest. He also purged eight generals he is blaming for not being able to take Ukraine.

On CNN Monday, Evelyn Farkas, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, similarly said that Putin "might feel like he doesn't have that much time as the leader of Russia, which gets back to why he's doing this whole thing, why he's doing it now."

"Putin has a complete disregard of what his, his people are thinking and doing," continued Barsky speaking to Acosta. "He knows that he can keep them under control as long as he also has the power players in his regime under control, because if he doesn't, you know, he's toast. There will be a palace revolt and he's done. He has to really walk a fine line because he put himself into a situation now that is very difficult for him to get out of. If he thinks he can occupy Ukraine and declare victory, he is wrong, because I've heard other people say what I said right when this thing started: Ukraine won't be defeated. You cannot — you cannot defeat a country when you fight the entire population."

He went on to say that trying to turn Ukraine into a pro-Russia state will take way too many lives of Russian soldiers.

"And eventually Putin's legacy would be kaput, and he would be deposed," Barsky said. "The choice that he may have still is find this off-ramp where he can declare victory, and get out, and get some concessions from the Ukrainian government, but that's not entirely dependent on him. He put himself into a really tight situation."

See the interview below:

Former KGB agent says Putin was nothing more than a 'mid-level bureaucrat' www.youtube.com

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