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Spy agencies cite Russia’s shock but say Putin is ‘unlikely to be scared’

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Spy agencies cite Russia’s shock but say Putin is ‘unlikely to be scared’

WASHINGTON – Top US intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is puzzled and troubled by problems that have hampered his military in Ukraine, issues that make it more difficult for Russian forces to control the country. Will make

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

Officials said US intelligence agencies, which released information on Russia’s military build-up and war plans before the attack, will work to uncover Russian atrocities and crimes, a continuation of the information war that has forced the West to impose tough sanctions on Ukraine. helped in the installation, the officials said.

Before the invasion, Mr. Putin thought the war would be relatively quick, allowing him to rapidly seize Kyiv and eliminate Ukrainian forces, the director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haynes told lawmakers.

“Moscow underestimates the strength of Ukraine’s resistance and the degree of internal military challenges, including a misguided plan, morale issues and quite logistical issues,” Ms Haynes said.

He said controlling the whole of Ukraine would require more forces than Russia had committed to fighting.

Some allied intelligence services believe that Mr. Putin’s early military problems may prompt him to re-adjust his plans to take control of the entire country and halt his progress after the capture of Kyiv, Especially if military officials shed light on how much additional forces would be needed to secure Ukraine.

But diplomats also say they are not sure how rational Mr Putin is looking at the situation. At the hearing, Ms Haynes said Mr Putin appeared intent on ramping up his campaign, despite his military’s logistical problems.

“Our analysts’ assessment is that Putin is unlikely to fear such a setback,” Ms Haynes said, “and that Ukraine’s disarmament instead, essentially doubling down on achieving neutrality, so that it can be dealt with by the US.” and to prevent further integration with NATO.

Given the problems the Russian military faced, and Ukraine’s growing willingness to fight, intelligence officials predicted that the war would intensify. CIA Director William J. Burns is anticipating “the ugly next few weeks.”

“I think Putin is angry and disappointed right now,” Mr Burns said. “There is a possibility of an attempt to crush the Ukrainian army regardless of civilian casualties,” he said.

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The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Scott D. Barrier, said there was a limit to how long Kyiv could stay as Russian forces surrounded Ukraine and tightened the noose. “With the supply cut, it will be somewhat desperate, I would say, from 10 days to two weeks,” General Barrier said.

Other estimates are similar. A European diplomat said on Tuesday that some Allied governments believe Russia will finish besieging Kyiv in a week and that the city may be able to stay out for another month, given the strength of Ukraine’s resistance. could.

While intelligence chiefs said Mr Putin felt sad, Mr Burns said it would be wrong to see his actions as insane.

The Russian leader’s growing isolation and isolation from conflicting views have made him “extremely difficult to deal with”, Mr Burns said. Without allies willing to push back, Mr. Putin entered the war, understanding that Ukraine wanted to fight back and the West to act.

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

Mr Burns said he was “disturbed by the Western response and associated resolutions, particularly some of the decisions taken by the German government.” “I think he’s upset with the performance of his army.”

General Barrier said he had little confidence in reports of Russian casualties, but placed Moscow’s losses at 2,000 to 4,000.

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Mr Burns said the US government was closely monitoring Putin’s domestic support. With state-controlled media dominated by what the Russian public hears and independent reporting on the invasion essentially being made illegal, it will take time for Russians to “absorb the consequences” of Mr Putin’s actions.

But, over time, funerals for Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine will have an effect, Burns said.

“You also see, in relatively small numbers, very courageous Russians protesting in the street,” Mr. Burns said. “Something like 13 or 14,000 have been arrested since then, which is no small thing in a deeply oppressive society like Russia.”

Other governments said another important factor is whether Putin’s military support wanes. According to intercepts obtained by Western intelligence, before the invasion, Russian officials complained about the plan. Discontent with the Kremlin’s plan now continues, the European diplomat said.

The intelligence community will expand its information war with Russia, working to uncover Moscow’s war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine, Ms Haynes said. US spy agencies were working with other agencies to document Russian actions in Ukraine, including war crimes, and to hold criminals accountable.

“The Russian military is acting with reckless disregard for the safety of at least non-combatants, as Russian units launch artillery and airstrikes in urban areas as they have done in cities across Ukraine,” Ms Haynes said. said.

Such an information campaign to uncover Russia’s attacks on civilians and other misadventures would be based on intelligence released prior to the invasion, which sought to uncover Russia’s war plans, Allied support for tough financial sanctions. Rally and refused to give Moscow a chance to make up a false excuse, for one. Attack.

National Security Agency Director General Paul M. Nakasone said the United States had closely tracked three or four Russian cyber attacks on Ukraine, and that Ukraine’s strong defenses had helped blunt widespread Russian cyber attacks.

“In terms of why they haven’t done more, I think it’s clearly some of the things that the Ukrainians have done, some of the challenges that the Russians have faced and some of the things that others have to do to prevent that.” are able to take action, ”said General Nakasone.

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