Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines also said that Russia’s arsenal appears to be rapidly depleting.
The civil war in Ukraine will continue for the next several months and the United States sees no evidence that Ukraine’s will to resist Russia has abated, despite Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy sector, a senior US intelligence official said.
Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence in the Biden administration, said on Saturday that he believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was surprised that his forces did not benefit from their war in Ukraine.
“We are seeing a kind of reduced tempo already in the conflict … and we hope that may be what we see in the coming months,” Haines told the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California.
The Ukrainian and Russian military have tried to reorganize and resume preparations for the winter, but there was a question whether the Kremlin could achieve that goal, he said.
“We have serious doubts whether the Russians will be ready to do that or not. I think I have hope for the Ukrainians at this point,” he said.
Putin is beginning to recognize the challenges facing his military, Haines said.
“I think he knows a lot about the problems that the military is facing in Russia. But it’s not clear to us that he has the whole picture right now about how they are struggling… he said.
The Atlantic Council, a US think tank, said recently that the winter in Ukraine could favor Russia’s defensive measures and allow the Russians to bring new troops to the areas east of the Dnipro River and near Crimea in the south.
“It may be Russia’s strategy to force a winter-long deployment in a permanent location with the aim of deploying newly trained and prepared reinforcements ahead of the spring,” the council said.
Haines said Putin’s political goals in Ukraine don’t appear to have changed, but U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin may be willing to scale back his looming military goals “temporarily with the idea that he might come back to this issue at some point.”
He added that Russia appears to be reducing its military arsenal “rapidly”.
“That’s why you’re seeing them go to other countries right now to test weapons … and we’ve shown that their precision weapons are rapidly disappearing in many ways,” he said.
“It’s very surprising, and our opinion is that they can’t make what they’re using at this point.”
Asked about the impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s electricity grid and other civilian infrastructure, Haines said Moscow’s goal was to weaken the Ukrainian public’s will to resist, adding: “I think we don’t see any evidence that this is being compromised right now. this one.”
Russia also looked to affect Ukraine’s ability to resist conflict and Kyiv’s economy was severely disrupted.
“Ukraine’s economy is struggling. It’s been devastating.”
After arriving in Kyiv on Saturday, US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials where she said Putin was not serious about peace.
“Diplomacy is everyone’s goal but you have to have a willing partner,” he told reporters.
“And it’s clear, whether it’s an attack on power, whether it’s a statement from the Kremlin and all the ideas, that Putin is not sincere or willing to do this,” he said.
Biden said Thursday that he was willing to talk to Putin if the Russian leader wanted to end the war. But the idea quickly died when the Kremlin said the West should recognize Moscow’s declaration of four Ukrainian territories.