US Not Confident Russia Can Make “Massive” Advances in Ukraine This Year

The United States does not believe Russia will “make major territorial advances” in Ukraine this year, US intelligence chief Avril Haines told members of the Senate on Wednesday (8/3). He said Russia may have difficulty sustaining its year-long offensive.

He told the US Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was “experiencing high casualty rates” and that unless it “starts urgently to deploy mandatory forces and obtain substantial supplies of third-party ammunition, it will be increasingly difficult for Russia to maintain its current attack levels.”

As part of a broad assessment of global threats to the United States, Haines said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is likely to better understand the limits of his military capabilities and now appears to be focusing on simpler military goals.”

He said Russia “may completely switch to defending and defending the territories it currently occupies,” most of which lie in eastern Ukraine.

However, Haines, the US director of national intelligence, judged that “Putin is likely timing in his favor and prolonging the war, including with a potential lull in combat, is probably his best path remaining… even if it takes years.”

Haines was testifying as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres accused Russia’s invasion of Ukraine of being a violation of international law when he arrived in Kyiv. Guterres will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about extending wheat shipments from Ukraine and securing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. [my/lt]

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