Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to be deterred by his army’s setbacks so far in the invasion of Ukraine and is likely to “escalate” the conflict, the top-ranking US intelligence official told a House panel on Tuesday.
So far, the Russian attack has been blunted by logistical and equipment issues in addition to fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces. Most notably, a 40-mile-long Russian convoy has remained stalled northwest of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, for several days.
“Our analysts assess that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks and instead may escalate, essentially doubling down to achieve Ukrainian disarmament, neutrality [and] to prevent it from further integrating with the US and NATO if it doesn’t reach some diplomatic negotiation,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing about threats to America’s global security.
“We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose,” Haines added. “But what he might be willing to accept as a victory may change over time given the significant costs he is incurring.”