Top US Intelligence Official: Putin Ready to Outlast Us All

Avril Haines sees him as 'preparing for a prolonged conflict'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2022 9:35 AM CDT
Top US Intelligence Official Tells Us What Putin Is Thinking
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Armed Services hearing to examine worldwide threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 10, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(Newser) – The country's top intelligence official spoke at a Senate hearing Tuesday, and the updates she provided on the Ukraine invasion weren't encouraging. US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines painted Vladimir Putin as digging in his heels and "preparing for a prolonged conflict," suspecting he'll be able to outlast those coming to Ukraine's aid. Putin "is probably counting on US and EU resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation, and energy shortages get worse," she said. Haines predicts things could grow more "unpredictable and escalatory" in the coming months.

  • One takeaway: The Washington Post reports Haines' remarks "add weight to forecasts that the war in Ukraine will drag on and predictions that the broader effects, such as inflation, will not go away quickly."

  • Putin's current focus: Axios reports that while Russian troops are zeroing in on the eastern Donbas region after being unable to take Kyiv, Haines sees this as "only a temporary shift. ... we are not confident that the fight in the Donbas will effectively end the war." Putin "still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas."
  • Those other goals: Haines detailed them, reports ABC News: "Consolidate control of the land bridge Russia has established from Crimea to the Donbas" and extend it to Transnistria in Moldova, "occupy Kherson, and control the water source for Crimea." She said Russia was capable of achieving some of those, but that the land bridge couldn't be extended without an additional troop mobilization.
  • The implications of that: Haines sees an increasing "likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives," reports CNN.
(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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