High U.S. intelligence officers informed Congress that the Russian chief had underestimated Ukrainian resolve and Western cohesion however was “doubling down” to attain his objectives.
WASHINGTON — High U.S. intelligence officers stated on Tuesday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had been shocked and unsettled by the issues which have hampered his navy in Ukraine, points that may make it tougher for Russian forces to regulate the nation.
However Mr. Putin is decided to reach Ukraine, and can attempt to double down and use ever extra brutal techniques, the officers stated throughout an look earlier than the Home Intelligence Committee.
America’s intelligence companies, which earlier than the assault launched info on Russia’s troop buildup and warfare plans, will work to focus on Russian atrocities and crimes, a continuation of the knowledge warfare that helped rally the West to impose robust sanctions on Ukraine, the officers stated.
Earlier than the invasion, Mr. Putin thought the warfare could be comparatively fast, permitting him to quickly seize Kyiv and overwhelm Ukrainian forces, Avril D. Haines, the director of nationwide intelligence, informed lawmakers.
“Moscow underestimated the energy of Ukraine’s resistance and the diploma of inner navy challenges we’re observing, which embody an ill-constructed plan, morale points and appreciable logistical points,” Ms. Haines stated.
Controlling all of Ukraine will necessitate much more forces than Russia has dedicated to the battle, she stated.
Some allied intelligence providers imagine that Mr. Putin’s early navy issues might trigger him to readjust his plans to take management of the entire nation, and cease his advance after he captures Kyiv, significantly if navy officers spotlight what number of extra forces it can require to safe Ukraine.
However diplomats are additionally fast so as to add that they aren’t certain how rationally Mr. Putin is viewing the scenario. On the listening to, Ms. Haines stated Mr. Putin appeared intent on intensifying his marketing campaign, regardless of his navy’s logistical issues.
“Our analysts assess that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks,” Ms. Haines stated, “and as an alternative could escalate, primarily doubling down to attain Ukrainian disarmament, neutrality, to stop it from additional integrating with the U.S. and NATO.”
Given the issues the Russian navy has confronted, and the rising will of Ukraine to battle, intelligence officers predicted the warfare would intensify. William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, is anticipating an “ugly subsequent few weeks.”
“I believe Putin is offended and pissed off proper now,” Mr. Burns stated. He’s more likely to “attempt to grind down the Ukrainian navy with no regard for civilian casualties,” he added.
Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Protection Intelligence Company, stated there was a restrict to how lengthy Kyiv might maintain on as Russian forces encircled Ukraine and tightened the vise. “With provides being lower off, it can turn out to be considerably determined in, I might say, 10 days to 2 weeks,” Common Berrier stated.
Different estimates are comparable. Some allied governments imagine Russia will end encircling Kyiv in every week and, given the energy of Ukraine’s resistance, town might be able to maintain out for one more month, a European diplomat stated on Tuesday.
Whereas the intelligence chiefs stated Mr. Putin felt aggrieved, Mr. Burns stated it will be incorrect to view his actions as loopy.
The Russian chief’s rising isolation and insulation from conflicting views make him “extraordinarily troublesome to take care of,” Mr. Burns stated. With out aides keen to push again, Mr. Putin entered the warfare misunderstanding the need of Ukraine to battle again and the West to take motion.
Germany, for instance, suspended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline mission, which might have allowed imported Russian pure gasoline to bypass Ukraine; sent weapons directly to Ukraine; and expanded its protection finances.
“He’s been unsettled by Western response and allied resolve, significantly a few of the choices that the German authorities has taken,” Mr. Burns stated. “I believe he’s been unsettled by the efficiency of his personal navy.”
Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Key Issues to Know
Common Berrier stated he had low confidence in experiences of Russian casualties, however put Moscow’s losses at 2,000 to 4,000.
Mr. Burns stated the American authorities was retaining an in depth eye on Mr. Putin’s home assist. With state-controlled media dominating what the Russian public hears and independent reporting on the invasion essentially being made illegal, it can take time for Russians to “soak up the implications” of Mr. Putin’s actions.
However, over time, funerals of Russian troopers killed in Ukraine will have an effect, Mr. Burns stated.
“You additionally see, in comparatively small numbers, a number of very brave Russians out on the road protesting,” Mr. Burns stated. “One thing like 13 or 14,000 have been arrested since then, which isn’t a small factor in a deeply repressive society like Russia.”
Different governments stated one other essential issue is whether or not Mr. Putin’s assist throughout the navy erodes. Earlier than the invasion, Russian officers complained in regards to the plan, based on intercepts obtained by Western intelligence. The discontent with the Kremlin’s planning now continues, the European diplomat stated.
The intelligence group will develop its info warfare with Russia, working to reveal Moscow’s warfare crimes and atrocities in Ukraine, Ms. Haines stated. American spy companies had been working with different companies to doc Russian actions in Ukraine, together with warfare crimes, and to carry the perpetrators accountable.
“Russian forces are on the very least working with reckless disregard for the security of noncombatants, as Russian models launch artillery and airstrikes into city areas as they’ve accomplished in cities throughout Ukraine,” Ms. Haines stated.
Such an info marketing campaign to reveal Russia’s assaults on civilians and different missteps would construct on the intelligence launched earlier than the invasion, which sought to expose Russia’s war plans, rally allied assist for robust monetary sanctions and deny Moscow the prospect to create a false pretext for an assault.
Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the director of the Nationwide Safety Company, stated that the US had intently tracked three or 4 Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine, and that bolstered Ukrainian defenses had helped blunt wider Russian cyberattacks.
“When it comes to why they haven’t accomplished extra, I believe that’s clearly a few of the work that the Ukrainians have accomplished, a few of the challenges that the Russians have encountered and a few of the work that others have been in a position to do to stop their actions,” Common Nakasone stated.