https://www.rt.com/news/555267-avril-haines-putin-ukraine/US intelligence estimates Russia’s plans for Ukraine

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US spy agencies think Vladimir Putin is preparing for a “prolonged” conflict and wants to conquer territory

National Intelligence Directorate Avril Haines told Congress on Tuesday that, according to U.S. espionage services, Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing for a “long term” conflict in Ukraine, seeking control of Ukraine’s southern coast, from the Donbass in the east to Transnistria in the west.

“We assess that President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, in which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbass,” Haines told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Haines explained that according to her “indications”, Putin is trying to extend Russian control from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics — which make up the Donbass region — along Ukraine’s Black Sea coast to the breakaway province of Transnistria on the Moldovan border.

This would be a major strategic victory for Russia and leave Ukraine locked in. However, Russia’s objectives in this area are unclear. When sending troops to Ukraine in February, Putin stated that Russia’s military operation was intended to: “demilitarize” Ukraine, to “denazify” his leadership, and to protect the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass Republics, who have been under legal and military persecution since 2014. Putin has not identified any clear territorial goals in Ukraine.

To bring land to Transnistria, Putin would have to declare a full mobilization and call in additional troops, according to US spy guides, which has not yet happened. However, as fighting raged along the borders of the Donbass republics and Ukrainian territory, Haines said Russia’s currently deployed troops would likely try to “crush the most capable and well-equipped Ukrainian troops fighting to hold the line in the east” in the “short-term.”

While the US and its NATO allies have poured billions of dollars worth of weapons into Ukraine to slow this advance, Haines claimed that “Putin also most likely judges that Russia has greater ability and willingness to face challenges than its adversaries.” and that “He is likely counting on the determination of the US and EU to ease as food shortages, inflation and energy prices worsen.”

Notably, while the EU and US have been rocked by rising inflation and record gas prices, the White House has so far insisted on that Americans will not experience food shortages. Haines’ statement marks the first time a US official has acknowledged that this could be a reality.

Haines also referred to the situation in Ukraine as that of Russia “military conflict with Ukraine and the West” a clear recognition of the role of the US as a participant. In the eyes of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the West is already “essentially going to war with Russia through a proxy” for sharing weapons and intelligence with Kiev.

Sanctions hurt US more than Russia – poll

The Biden administration and lawmakers from both sides have decided to continue funding Kiev’s military. Congress reached a deal on Monday to send nearly $40 billion in military and other aid to Ukraine, nearly $7 billion more than Biden had requested last week, and Biden signed the Lend-Lease Act of 2022 on Monday, extending legal limits on the amount of weapons Washington can send to Kiev.

Haines told Senate Putin will likely try to intercept US arms shipments in the “coming weeks.” Russian troops have already destroyed numerous warehouses and stockpiles of weapons delivered abroad, and Moscow has stated that these weapons, as well as the convoys transporting them within Ukraine’s borders, constitute a “legitimate targets.”

“Both Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to make military progress,” he said. Haines said, adding: “We don’t see a viable negotiation path, at least not in the near term.”





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