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The war in Ukraine is set to slow this winter, according to US intelligence : NPR


A house burns after a Russian attack in Kherson, Ukraine, Saturday, December 3, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka/AP


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Evgeniy Maloletka/AP


A house burns after a Russian attack in Kherson, Ukraine, Saturday, December 3, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

KYIV, Ukraine — The head of the US intelligence agency says the fighting in Russia’s war in Ukraine is unfolding at a “decreasing pace” and hints that Ukrainian forces may have a brighter outlook in the coming months.

Avril Haines alluded to past accusations by some that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers could shield him from bad news – for Russia – about the course of the war, and said that he “Being more informed about the challenges the military faces in Russia.”

The director of national intelligence said late Saturday at the Reagan Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California: “But it’s still not clear to us that he has a full picture of the extent of the challenge.” At this stage”.

Looking ahead, Haines said, “to be honest, we’re seeing a kind of conflict that’s slowed down,” and her team hopes that both sides will find a way to re-equip, resupply, and prepare for battle. a possible Ukrainian counterattack in the spring.

“But we do have some skepticism about whether the Russians are really prepared to do that,” she said. “And I think more optimistic for the Ukrainians in that timeframe.”

On Sunday, the British Ministry of Defense, in its latest intelligence estimate, pointed to new indications from an independent Russian media outlet that public support in Russia for the military operation was not clear. is “significantly reduced”.

Meduza said it obtained a recent confidential opinion survey conducted by the Federal Protection Service, the agency responsible for protecting the Kremlin and providing security for top government officials. head.

The survey commissioned by the Kremlin found that 55% of respondents support peace talks with Ukraine while 25% want the war to continue. The report does not mention the margin of error.

The Levada Center, Russia’s leading independent polling company, found in a similar poll conducted in November that 53% of respondents supported peace talks, 41% in favor of continuing the war and 6% undecided. That poll of 1,600 people had a margin of error of no more than 3.4%.

The British Ministry of Defense notes that “despite the Russian authorities’ efforts to exercise broad control over the information environment, the conflict has become increasingly apparent to many Russians since the ‘partially mobilized’ in September 2022.”

With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes over the next few months, maintaining even tacit approval of the war among the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin. newspaper.

In recent weeks, Russia’s military focus has been on attacking Ukrainian infrastructure and stepping up an offensive in the east, near the town of Bakhmut, while shelling sites in the city of Kherson, where Ukrainian forces liberated last month after eight months of Russian occupation.

In his nightly address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lashed out at Western efforts to curb Russia’s vital oil industry, a major source of funding for Putin’s war machine, say their $60 a barrel price for Russian oil imports is not enough.

“It is not a serious decision to put such a limit on Russian prices, which is quite comfortable for the budget of the terrorist state,” Zelenskyy mentioned Russia. He said the $60 per barrel level would still allow Russia to bring in $100 billion in revenue a year.

“This money will not only go to war and not only further finance other Russian terrorist regimes and organizations. This money will be used to further destabilize those countries that are currently trying to destabilize them. try to avoid serious decisions,” Zelenskyy said.

Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, the United States and 27 European Union countries on Friday agreed to limit the amount they have to pay to buy Russian oil to $60 a barrel. The limit will go into effect on Monday, along with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea.

Russian authorities have rejected the price cap and threatened on Saturday to stop supplying it to countries that endorse it.

In another move to demonstrate Western support for Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russian forces and deal with the aftermath of the war, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on Saturday visited the operation of a Ukrainian aid group that provides assistance to internally displaced people. in Ukraine, among her other visits with top Ukrainian officials.

Nuland assembled blue and yellow yarn dolls of the Ukrainian flag with children from areas including northeastern Kharkiv, southern Kherson and eastern Donetsk.

“This is psychological support for them at a critical time,” Nuland said.

“As President Putin knows best, this war can be stopped today, if he chooses to stop it and withdraw his forces – and then negotiations can begin,” she added.

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