US Intelligence Director: Putin Preparing For Prolonged Conflict In Ukraine
WASHINGTON - U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on May 10th that the U.S. believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine.
Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas".
She also told the committee that indicates are that Russia is planning to extend a land bridge to Transdniester, which is a breakaway region in Moldova and that Putin is counting on the resolve of the West to weaken over time. She said that victory in Donbas may not be the end of the war.
Haines stated, "Putin most likely also judges that Russia has a greater ability and willingness to endure challenges than his adversaries, and he is probably counting on U.S. and EU resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation, and energy prices get worse".
She added that Putin will likely become more unpredictable and that he could even order martial law within Russia.
"The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military options to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives".
She also said that Putin probably isn't going to use nuclear weapons unless the Russian homeland faces and 'existential threat' but said that Putin's actions may become more unpredictable.
"Combined with the reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities, [this] likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory" she stated.