US Intelligence Tells Putin Congress ‘Not Likely To Be Threatened’

WASHINGTON – Top U.S. intelligence officials on Tuesday said Russian President Putin was surprised and worried by the problems hindering his military in Ukraine that would make Russian forces difficult to control. more control over the country.

Still, Mr. Putin is determined to succeed in Ukraine, and will try to double down and use ever more brutal tactics, officials said in an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.

American intelligence agencies, which released information about Russia’s war and military construction plans before the attack, will work to highlight Russia’s atrocities and crimes, its continuation The link of the information war has helped the West impose tough sanctions on Ukraine, officials said.

Before the invasion, Mr. Putin thought the fighting would be relatively quick, allowing him to quickly capture Kyiv and overwhelm Ukrainian forces, Avril D. Haines, director of national intelligence, told reporters. legislator.

“Moscow has underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance and the level of internal military challenges we are observing, including a faulty construction plan, morale problems and problems,” Haines said. significant logistical problem”.

Controlling all of Ukraine would require more forces than Russia had committed to during the war, she said.

Some allied intelligence agencies believe that Mr. Putin’s initial military problems may cause him to revise his plans to take control of the country and halt his advance after capturing Kyiv, especially especially if military officers specify how many additional forces will be needed to secure it. Ukraine.

But diplomats were also quick to add that they were not sure how Putin rationally viewed the situation. At the hearing, Haines said Putin appeared intent on ramping up his campaign, despite the military’s logistical problems.

“Our analysts estimate that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks, and could instead escalate, essentially doubling down on a resolution,” Haines said. disarmament, Ukraine’s neutrality, to prevent its further integration with the United States and NATO.”

Given the problems facing Russia’s military and Ukraine’s growing will to fight, intelligence officials predict the war will become increasingly fierce. William J. Burns, director of the CIA, predicts a “bad next few weeks.”

“I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now,” Burns said. He was capable of “trying to bring down the Ukrainian army without regard for civilian casualties,” he added.

Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said there is a limit to how long Kyiv can hold out as Russian forces encircle Ukraine and tighten the encirclement. “With the supply cut off, I would say it will become somewhat desperate in 10 days to two weeks,” General Berrier said.

Other estimates are similar. Some allied governments believe Russia will complete its siege of Kyiv in a week, and given the strength of Ukraine’s resistance, the city could hold out for another month, a European diplomat said on Thursday. Three.

While intelligence leaders said Putin felt distressed, Mr Burns said it would be incorrect to call his actions insane.

Mr Burns said the Russian leader’s growing isolation and isolation from opposing views made him “extremely difficult to deal with”. Without aides willing to push back, Putin entered the war misinterpreting Ukraine’s will to fight back and that the West would act.

For example, Germany suspended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would have allowed imported Russian natural gas to pass through Ukraine; send weapons directly to Ukraine; and expanding the defense budget.

“He’s not at all worried about the West’s reaction and the resolve of its allies, especially some of the decisions the German government has made,” Burns said. “I think he was insecure about the performance of his own army.”

General Berrier said he did not give much confidence to Russian casualty reports, but put Moscow’s losses at between 2,000 and 4,000.

Mr. Burns said the US government is closely monitoring Putin’s domestic support. With state-controlled media dominating what the Russian public hears and Independent reporting of the invasion is essentially illegalIt will take time for Russians to “accept the consequences” of Putin’s actions.

Over time, however, the funerals of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine will have an impact, Burns said.

“You also see, in a relatively small number of people, a lot of very brave Russians going out into the streets to protest,” Mr. Burns said. “About 13 or 14,000 people have been arrested since then, which is no small thing in a society as deeply repressed as Russia.”

Other governments say another key factor is whether Putin’s support in the military has eroded. Before the invasion, Russian officers complained about the plan, according to Western intelligence obtained. The European diplomat said dissatisfaction with the Kremlin’s plan continues.

The intelligence community will expand its information war with Russia, working to expose Moscow’s war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine, Haines said. American spy agencies have worked with other agencies to document Russia’s actions in Ukraine, including war crimes, and hold perpetrators accountable.

“Russian forces are at least operating recklessly, disregarding the safety of non-bomb bombers, as Russian units conduct artillery and air strikes on urban areas,” Haines said. as they did in cities all over Ukraine.”

Such an information campaign to expose Russian attacks on civilians and other missteps would be based on intelligence released prior to the invasion, seeks to expose Russia’s war plansrally allies’ support for tough financial sanctions and deny Moscow the chance to create a false pretext for an attack.

General Paul M. Nakasone, Director of the National Security Agency, said that the United States has closely monitored three or four Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine and that strengthening Ukraine’s defenses has helped prevent the attacks. Russia’s broader network.

“As for why they didn’t do more, I think it’s clear that some of the work that the Ukrainians did, some of the challenges the Russians have had, and some of the work that others have been able to do. do to stop them. General Nakasone said.

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