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Thursday April 25, 2024

Russia won’t make major gains in Ukraine in 2023: US intel chief

By AFP
March 09, 2023

WASHINGTON: Russia´s military is likely unable to sustain its current level of fighting in Ukraine and probably won´t capture significantly more territory this year, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Wednesday.

After major setbacks and large battlefield losses, “We do not foresee the Russian military recovering enough this year to make major territorial gains,” Haines told a Senate hearing.

Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin “most likely calculates that time works in his favour,” Haines said.

Putin likely believes that prolonging the war, with intermittent pauses in fighting, “may be his best remaining pathway to eventually securing Russian strategic interests in Ukraine, even if it takes years,” she said.

Haines, reporting on the sum of views in the broad US intelligence community, said that one year after invading Ukraine but failing in his primary goals for the operation, Putin now probably has a better understanding of the limitations of his forces.

Moscow´s military power is now significantly constrained by troop losses and arms depletion that is exacerbated by trade restrictions and sanctions placed by the United States and allies, she noted.

Putin “appears to be focused on more modest military objectives now,” she told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“If Russia does not initiate a mandatory mobilization, and identify substantial third-party ammunition supplies, it will be increasingly challenging for them to sustain even the current level of offensive operations,” Haines said.

As a result, Russian forces “may fully shift” to holding and defending the territories they now occupy, she said.