Ukraine could see better days in its fight against Russia: US intel chief

Ukraine could see better days in its fight against Russia: US intel chief

The United States’ intel chief sees better days ahead for Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces — and questioned whether President Vladimir Putin fully grasps the challenges his country faces in its invasion effort.

During the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Putin “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russian” as she alluded to past allegations that Putin advisors were shielding him from bad war-front news.

“But it’s still not clear to us that he has a full picture, at this stage, of just how challenged they are,” Haines said.

Haines also noted, “honestly we’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict” with the expectation both sides will need to refit and resupply amid a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive geared up for the spring.

“But we actually have a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be in fact prepared to do that,” she said.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is picture.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Ukraine could see brighter days ahead.
AFP via Getty Images

“And I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that timeframe.”

Haines’ comments come as a top US diplomat said Putin wasn’t truly interested in peace talks and was taking the war to a new level of “barbarism” by cutting the power to Ukrainian civilians.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland lambasted the Kremlin Saturday for targeting civilian infrastructure when she met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials in Kyiv.

“Diplomacy is obviously everyone’s objective but you have to have a willing partner,” she told reporters. “And it’s very clear, whether it’s the energy attacks, whether it’s the rhetoric out of the Kremlin and the general attitude, that Putin is not sincere or ready for that.”

Elderly residents are pictured being evacuated from the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 27.
The fighting in Ukraine has been going on for nine months.

She also accused Putin of pulling every Ukrainian home into conflict.

“Putin has taken this war to a new level of barbarism, taking it into every single Ukrainian home as he tries to turn off the lights and the water and achieve what he couldn’t on the battlefield,” Nuland said.

The British Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence estimation that public support in Russia for the war might be drastically falling, pointing to a recent survey obtained by an independent Russian media outlet

The outlet, Meduza, said it obtained a recent survey done by the Federal Protection Service — which provides security to Kremlin and other top government officials — that showed 55% of respondents supported peace talks with Ukraine. About 25% still wanted to see the war continue.

Pictured are Ukrainian servicemen shooting towards Russian positions in the frontline at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov. 23.
A counterattack could be planned in the spring by Ukraine, Haines said.

Last month Russia’s top independent pollster, Levada Center, found that 53% of about 1,600 respondents sought peace and 41% chose for the war to drag on.

“Despite the Russian authorities’ efforts to enforce pervasive control of the information environment, the conflict has become increasingly tangible for many Russians since the September 2022 ‘partial mobilization,’” the British Defense Ministry said.

“With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes in the next several months, maintaining even tacit approval of the war amongst the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin,” it also noted.

President Volodymyr Zelensky during his Saturday nightly address blasted Western nations for setting a $60-per-barrel price cap on imports of Russian oil considering that is how Moscow is in large part funding its war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured.
Russian President Vladimir Putin might not be aware of every development in Ukraine, Haines said.
AFP via Getty Images

The price cap of $60 would still allow Russia to rake in $100 billion in revenue yearly, he said.

“This money will go not only to the war and not only to further sponsorship by Russia of other terrorist regimes and organizations. This money will be used for further destabilization of those countries that are now trying to avoid serious decisions,” Zelensky said.

A slew of countries, including the US, agreed to the price cap Friday, but that benchmark was rejected by Russian officials who threatened to stop supplying nations that supported the plan. 

With Post wires

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