The majority of Ukraine remains the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal, according to the senior intelligence official for the US on Wednesday.
In her assessment of Russia’s objectives in Ukraine after four months of conflict, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines stated that the U.S. intelligence community anticipates “an prolonged period” of fighting is still to come. According to Haines, Putin’s pre-invasion ambition of annexing all of Ukraine remains the same; nevertheless, she claimed there appears to be a “gap” between the Russian president’s goals and his military’s capability.
The situation is still really dire, and Russia’s stance against the West is becoming more hostile, according to Haines.
Haines continued, “We think [Putin] has essentially the same political goals we had previously, namely, he wants to take most of Ukraine.” He noted that U.S. spy agencies “perceive a disconnect between Putin’s near-term military objectives in this area and his military’s capacity, a kind of mismatch between his ambitions and what the military is able to accomplish.”
When troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, the Russian military made an attempt to topple the government. However, after suffering significant losses and making only modest gains, the Kremlin withdrew its forces from the Kyiv region in early April, shifting the front lines of the conflict to Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
Haines stated that she thought that for the time being, gaining ground in the Donbas region and smashing Ukrainian resistance were Putin’s top priorities.
Despite the fact that Western nations are providing billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware, according to Haines, that scenario is not the most likely. This is despite the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told leaders at the G-7 summit this week that he wants the war to be over by the end of the year.
According to the director of national intelligence, the most likely course of events is a protracted struggle in which Russia obtains “incremental advantages, without a breakthrough.”
The damage the Russian military caused in Ukraine, according to Haines, will take years to repair, and until it rebuilds its military, Russia is “unlikely to be able to launch numerous simultaneous operations.” In order to try to manage and project power and influence globally during this time, Haines added, “we predict that they’re going to be more reliant on asymmetric instruments that they have, such as cyberattacks, attempts to control energy, even nuclear weapons.”