Putin preparing for long war with Ukraine – US intelligence says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared for a lengthy war in Ukraine, according to US intelligence agencies, with even a victory in the east likely not ending the conflict.

The warning comes as severe battle continues in Ukraine’s east, where Russia is attempting to gain territory, with only a tiny handful of rebels standing in the way of absolute control of Mariupol.

After Ukraine withstood attempts to conquer its capital, Kyiv, Moscow refocused its soldiers on taking the Donbas area. Despite this, US intelligence reports that its soldiers are stuck in a stalemate.

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told a US Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, May 10 that Putin was still intending “to achieve goals beyond the Donbas”, but that he “faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities”.

However, the Russian president could turn to “more drastic means” as the war continues – although Moscow would only use nuclear weapons if Putin perceived an “existential threat” to Russia.

Defence Intelligence Agency Director Scott Berrier told the same hearing that the Russians and the Ukrainians were “at a bit of a stalemate”.

The statement comes after Ukraine claim to have recaptured four settlements in the north-eastern Kharkiv region while Russia bombed the Odessa region of Ukraine on Tuesday killing scores.

Also Ukraine announced it had captured back Cherkasy Tyshky, Ruski Tyshky, Rubizhne and Bayrak from Russia.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian successes were gradually pushing Russian forces out of Kharkiv, which has been bombarded since the war began.

But he said Ukrainians “should not create an atmosphere of excessive moral pressure, where victories are expected weekly and even daily”.

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