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The Russian army is barely supporting the current offensive in Ukraine and will not be capable of larger-scale offensive actions this year, according to representatives of American intelligence.
Speaking at a hearing before the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Gaines said that the Russian army is not ready for “major territorial gains” because, due to arms sanctions and other restrictions imposed by the West, its resources are only sufficient for “the current level offensive operations”.
“If Russia does not begin mandatory mobilization and find significant sources of munitions from third countries, it will be increasingly difficult for it to maintain even the current level of offensive operations in the coming months, and therefore it may completely switch to the holding and defense of the territories that they now are occupying,” said Gaines, presenting the report on behalf of the US intelligence community.
At the hearing, Gaines said that, realizing his limited resources, Russian President Vladimir Putin is “most likely counting on time working on his side” and prolonging the war “perhaps for years” will help him achieve his strategic goals in Ukraine.
According to Gaines, “Moscow has suffered losses that will take years to recover” and therefore will pose less of a conventional military threat to Europe, nor will it be able to operate as before in Eurasia and on the global stage. But this weakness may mean that Russia will use asymmetric methods and look for partners to do so.
“As a result, Russia will become even more reliant on asymmetric options such as nuclear, cyber, space capabilities and China,” Gaines told a Senate hearing.
As for nuclear threats, according to the intelligence community, which monitors threatening Russian rhetoric, at the current stage, Putin is trying to scare the West in such a way that it stops helping Ukraine.
“He is likely still convinced that Russia will eventually be able to defeat Ukraine militarily, and wants to prevent Western support from tipping the scales into conflict with NATO,” Gaines said.
She also said the U.S. intelligence community is monitoring the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine and is “engaged in cooperation” with other parts of the U.S. government to document Russian crimes and hold Russia and Russian perpetrators accountable for their actions. Among the crimes of the Russian forces, she named the bombing of Ukrainian energy facilities and networks, as well as any other non-military facilities, the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia, and the creation of filtration camps.
According to Gaines, Ukraine is also suffering heavy casualties in the fighting in the east of the country, affecting its ability to mount a successful counteroffensive later this spring.
According to representatives of American intelligence, the biggest global competitor of the USA and the biggest source of threats is China. Nuclear proliferation, terrorism, cyber attacks and the malign influence of Russia, North Korea, China and Iran were discussed at the hearings, among other threats.
The Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, held once a year, are an opportunity for senators to ask questions about the biggest threats to national security to all the heads of the US intelligence services, whose agencies do not hold regular press briefings about their activities.
In addition to Director of National Intelligence Avril Gaines, CIA Director William Burns, FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Agency Director General Paul Nakasone and the Director of Intelligence also testified during the Global Threats hearing on Wednesday, March 8. US Lieutenant General Scott Berrier.