According to US intelligence, the war in Ukraine is not over yet. Avril Haines, director of the intelligence service, believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict and that the conquest of the Donbas region may not end the war.
She also talked about Putin’s nuclear weapons. “He may use them if he feels he is losing.”
Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, painted a grim picture on Tuesday of the next phase of the war in Ukraine. She said the war is likely to become “even more unpredictable and escalating” in the coming months as “Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities.” As a result, Putin would be inclined to make more ad hoc decisions, and she told Congress on Tuesday.
Therefore, the United States believes that Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine and that a Russian victory in the Donbas in the east of the country may not end the war. “We estimate that President Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine, in which he still plans to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines said. “As both Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to make progress militarily, we don’t see a viable negotiating path forward, at least not in the short term,” Haines said. However, she added that Putin is counting on Western determination to wane over time.
Haines does not believe that Putin will deploy nuclear weapons at this time but does not rule out the possibility of it ever happening. “He would only do that if there was an existential threat to Russia,” Haines said. “And we think he can if he starts to think that he is losing the war in Ukraine and that NATO is interfering. But there are still many intermediate steps and additional escalation needed before he takes up those weapons.”