US intelligence chief warns Putin will ‘double down’ in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin enters the St. George at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow.

Mikhail Klimentyev | AFP | beautiful pictures

WASHINGTON – President of Russia Vladimir Putin US officials warned on Tuesday there was a possibility of accelerating the Kremlin’s military campaign in Ukraine amid stalled progress after nearly two weeks of war.

The intelligence chiefs, who had previously warned of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, outlined some of the problems the Russian military is currently facing on the battlefield.

“We assess that 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 other problems,” he said. significant logistical problem,” Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, told the House Intelligence Committee. .

US intelligence analysts believe those failures won’t stop Putin, who “may instead escalate, essentially double down,” she said.

Haines, the head of 18 US intelligence agencies, said: “We assess that Putin is heartbroken that the West does not give him the proper respect and views this as a war he cannot afford. to lose”.

Along with Haines, CIA director William Burns told lawmakers that Putin was growing increasingly frustrated that Kyiv had not yet yielded to Russian forces.

Instead of capturing Kyiv within the first two days of the operation, which was his plan, after nearly two weeks, they were still unable to completely encircle the city, Burns said.

Burns warned: “I think Putin is very angry and frustrated.

Officials declined to say specifically what Putin would do next or set a schedule for such moves.

Testimony provided by top US police chiefs complements the intelligence community’s unclassified version of annual threat assessment report. The report was compiled before Russia invaded Ukraine.

At the Pentagon, a senior US defense official said separately on Tuesday that Russian forces were pursuing four different attacks on Kyiv island about 12 kilometers from the city center.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Russian troop movements into Ukraine had slowed.

“They still seem to be plagued by logistical and maintenance challenges,” the official explained, adding that the Russians are facing shortages of fuel and food that are worth it. tell.

“We have every expectation that they will try to overcome those challenges,” the official added.

Almost all of the Russian forces that were stationed on the Ukrainian border are now in Ukraine, the official added.

“We assess that almost, not all, but almost 100% of the forces they have accumulated are currently in the country and they are clearly in the country with the intention of moving along these multiple approaches.” , the official said.

Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the activities of Russian forces in Ukraine had slowed.

“The Russians continue to get frustrated and slow down and they haven’t really made any noticeable progress in the last few days,” Kirby said.

“They’re having a morale problem. They’re having a supply problem. They’re having a fuel problem. They’re having a food problem. They’re having a very strong and persistent resistance. decision of the Ukrainian people,” he added.

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