Military Intelligence Chief Says Putin Can’t Hit Ukraine’s Goal

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia’s setbacks and limited resources in Ukraine show that its forces are unable to achieve President Vladimir Putin’s original goals of invading the country as it stands, the chief of staff said Friday. Pentagon intelligence.

“We’re getting to a point right now where I think Putin is going to have to revise his objectives for this operation,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told an intelligence and national security conference. . outside Washington. “Because “it’s pretty clear right now that he won’t be able to do what he originally intended to do.”

Putin sent troops to neighboring Ukraine in February with what US officials say is the goal of overthrowing Ukraine’s pro-Western government. Ukrainian forces drove Russian fighters from their positions around the Ukrainian capital early in the war. And Russia suffered another major setback last week, when a Ukrainian counteroffensive forced its troops to retreat from large swathes of northeastern Ukraine.

“The Russians had planned an occupation, not necessarily an invasion, and that delayed them,” Berrier said, citing Putin’s reluctance so far to fully mobilize Russian forces to secure more manpower in the area. fight.

President Joe Biden and other administration officials have been careful not to label Russia’s latest retreat a Ukrainian victory or a turning point in the war, and analysts warn it’s impossible to gauge what awaits us.

“He’s coming to a decision point,” Berrier said of Putin. “We don’t know what that decision will be. But it will largely determine how long this conflict lasts.

Berrier spoke during a panel with other senior officials at the Intelligence Community’s Intelligence and National Security Summit at National Harbor in Maryland, just outside Washington.

Asked about fears Putin could unleash weapons of mass destruction if he is thwarted on the battlefield by U.S. and NATO-backed Ukrainian forces, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said “I don’t think we should underestimate Putin’s adherence to his original agenda, which was to control Ukraine. I don’t think we saw any reason to believe he gave that up.

Nor should the United States underestimate Putin’s “risk appetite,” Cohen said. Putin and his officials early in the war alluded to Russia’s nuclear arsenal and massive retaliation when warning NATO not to get involved in the conflict.

“That being said, we haven’t seen any concrete evidence of ADM use planning,” Cohen said. The most likely form of Russian retaliation against the United States would be more attempts to interfere with the American political system, intelligence officials said.

Separately, at a major regional summit in Uzbekistan on Friday, Putin vowed to press for an attack on Ukraine and warned that Moscow could step up its strikes on the country’s infrastructure if Ukrainian forces target facilities in Russia.

The conference included leaders from China, India, Turkey and several other countries.

Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbass region was Russia’s main military goal and he saw no need to revise it.

“We are in no rush,” the Russian leader said.

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