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French military intelligence chief leaves job over Ukraine war failures — report

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By AFP  with Euronews
A man waves a Ukrainian flag at a Paris demonstration against the Russian invasion.
A man waves a Ukrainian flag at a Paris demonstration against the Russian invasion.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Reports say the head of France's military intelligence will leave his post for failures related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

General Eric Vidaud will immediately be removed as the head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM), according to a military source.

One report from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces said Vidaud was blamed for "insufficient briefings" and a "failure to master the issues."

According to AFP sources, Vidaud had been in the sights of the army staff since the war in Ukraine began last month. Another report is that his departure is part of a structural reorganisation within the DRM.

Earlier this month, the chief of staff of the French army had admitted that the country had not predicted Russia's invasion like officials in the United States.

"The Americans said that the Russians were going to attack, and they were right," General Thierry Burkhard told Le Monde newspaper.

"Our services rather thought that the conquest of Ukraine would have a monstrous cost and that the Russians had other options [to topple Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy]."

French President Emmanuel Macron had visited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for attempted diplomatic talks just days before the invasion began.

But the DRM has stated that General Vidaud's job was to provide "military intelligence on operations, not on premeditation".

His service had concluded that Russia had the means to invade Ukraine and "what has happened proves it right," a military source told AFP.

General Vidaud was only appointed to his post last summer, from a previous role at Special Operations Command (COS).