The Russian President and the head of his armed forces, General Valery Gerasimov, were said to be interfering in low-level tactical decisions usually made by much junior figures.
"We think Putin and Gerasimov are involved in tactical decision-making at a level we would normally expect to be taken by a colonel or a brigadier," the source said.
The source added that Mr Putin’s most senior general was still “up and running” despite claims he had been suspended after a series of military failures in Ukraine.
It was suggested that the pair could be meddling in the movements of Russian units containing as little as 700 to 1,000 soldiers.
Western officials believe that Moscow’s micromanagement of the war in Ukraine could be a contributing factor to the Russian military’s slow progress in the Donbas, where troops have failed to make significant territorial gains.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the head of Britain’s armed forces, told Parliament on Monday said Ukraine’s survival was “guaranteed” and that he had been given clear direction from Boris Johnson that “Putin must fail”.
“The Foreign Secretary speaks of a network of liberty,” he said.
“If we, the responsible, democratic nations of the world, don’t step up to strengthen and defend the rules and freedoms that underpin global security, then we leave that space to others that subscribe to a very different set of values.”
Ukraine’s military is also bullish on the prospect of a battlefield victory over Russia, which some in Kyiv believe could be secured by the end of the year.
Mr Putin, according to a US-based think-tank, has downgraded his military ambitions for the second time since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Russia had already abandoned efforts to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in favour of taking full control over the eastern Donbas region.
But now the Kremlin has appeared to scrap plans to capture Donetsk, a pro-Russian separatist-held city, in favour of seizing full control over Luhansk to the northeast, the latest assessment by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said.
The ISW said Russia was believed to have run out of combat-ready reserves, forcing them to gather soldiers from different units, including private military fighters and proxy militias.