The war in Ukraine could enter a more unpredictable, volatile and bloody phase in the coming months. US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned yesterday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long war that could spread beyond Ukraine's borders and into Moldova.
"We believe that President Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine, during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond Donbass," she said, referring to Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova, the intelligence chief said. in an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Haines said Russian leader Vladimir Putin's strategic goals in Ukraine "probably haven't changed" since the invasion began. "The uncertain nature of the battle, which is turning into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin is facing a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia's current conventional military capabilities, likely means that in the coming months we could moving in a more unpredictable direction and further escalation of violence," Haines said.
Haines warned that Putin could seek "more drastic means" at home and abroad to achieve his goals, including imposing martial law, shifting industrial production to sustain the war effort, and "military action." larger scale".
Putin could carry out new nuclear tests as a warning to the West, Haines added, although he said he believed he would only approve the use of these weapons "if he really perceives an existential threat to the Russian state or regime."
Even though Russia appears to have changed its strategy and focused on controlling Donbas, where Ukrainian troops have spent years fighting Russian-backed separatists, Haines believes Putin intends to expand the war beyond that region. , industrial heart of Ukraine.
The US intelligence chief stressed that Moscow is seeking to create a land bridge from the occupied Crimean peninsula to Transnistria in neighboring Moldova, but cannot do so without greater military mobilization. “Even if they are successful, we are not sure that the fighting in Donbas will effectively end the war,” she said.
"We assess that President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve greater goals," according to the testimony of the Director of National Intelligence, which is also collected by CNN.
Haines testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as part of the Senate's annual threat hearing, in which the invasion of Ukraine by part of Russia, which began on February 24, occupied most of the session.