America’s spy agencies reckon Vladimir Putin is preparing for a “prolonged” conflict, and wants to seize territory
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told Congress on Tuesday that, in the view of the US’ spy agencies, Russian President Vladimir Putin was gearing up for a “prolonged” conflict in Ukraine, and was looking to establish control of Ukraine’s southern coast, from the Donbass in the east to Transnistria in the west.
“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbass,”Haines addressed a Senate Armed Services Committee committee.
Haines stated that, according to her “indications,” Putin is seeking to extend Russian control from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – which collectively make up the Donbass region – along Ukraine’s Black Sea coast to the breakaway province of Transnistria on the Moldovan border.
This would represent a significant strategic victory for Russia and leave Ukraine without a country. However, Russia’s objectives in this regard are unclear. Upon sending troops into Ukraine in February, Putin stated that Russia’s military operation was intended to “demilitarize”Ukraine “denazify”Its leadership and protection of the Russian-speaking people in the Donbass republics who have been living under military and legal persecution since 2014 Putin didn’t specify any specific territorial goals for Ukraine.
To take land up to Transnistria, according to the US’ spy chiefs, Putin would need to declare a full mobilization and call up additional troops, something that has not happened yet. However, with fighting raging along the borders of the Donbass republics and Ukrainian territory, Haines said that Russia’s currently deployed forces would likely try to “crush the most capable and well-equipped Ukrainian forces fighting to hold the lineIn the east” in the “near term.”
Haines claimed that the US and NATO have sent billions in weapons to Ukraine as a way of slowing this advance. “Putin most likely also judges that Russia has a greater ability and willingness to endure challenges than his adversaries,”That and more “he is probably counting on US and EU resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation and energy prices get worse.”
Not surprisingly, even though the US and EU have been hit by record-breaking inflation, the White House is still thriving. insistedAmericans won’t experience food shortages. Haines’ statement marks the first time that a US official has acknowledged that this may be a reality.
Haines also referred to the situation in Ukraine as Russia’s “military conflict with Ukraine and the West,” an apparent acknowledgment of the US’ role as a participant. Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) believes the West has already been acknowledged as an active participant. “essentially going to war with Russia through a proxy”because of the sharing of intelligence and arms with Kiev.
The Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties have resolved to continue bankrolling Kiev’s military. On Monday, Congress reached an agreement to send almost $40 billion of military and other assistance to Ukraine. This is nearly $7 billion more that Biden requested last week. Biden also signed Monday’s Lend-Lease Act 2022 which removes legal restrictions on how many arms Washington can send Kiev.
Haines informed the Senate of the possibility that Putin might seek to intercept US arms shipments in order to stop them from reaching the US. “coming weeks.” Russian forces have already destroyed numerous warehouses and stockpiles of foreign-supplied arms, and Moscow has stated that these weapons, as well as convoys transporting them within Ukraine’s borders, constitute “legitimate targets.”
“Both Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to make progress militarily,” Haines said, adding: “We do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term.”