At a moment that top US intelligence officials are holding intense discussions over what “victory” might look like for Russian President Vladimir Putin – or whether or not he’s contemplating an exit from the conflict in Ukraine and under what conditions – senior Pentagon officials assess there’s been little significant progress by Russian forces in the Donbas.
During a Monday briefing one senior official told reporters this is due partly to low morale and “refusing to obey orders” – which is even impacting the officer corps. The officials described, “We still see anecdotal reports of poor morale of troops, indeed officers, refusing to obey orders and move and not really sound command and control from a leadership perspective.”
Further the officials said that “midgrade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level” are either refusing to follow orders or are not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey,” according to The Hill.
Given Putin’s more restrained than expected ‘Victory Day’ speech in Moscow on Monday, some Western observers have speculated that lack of any verbal assessment of how his forces are doing on the ground could be a sign of frustration. Prior to this, some thought the Russian leader aimed to declare full victory over the Donbas by the time of the May 9 commemoration events on Red Square.
Putin had given as one of the justifications for the Feb.24 invasion during the speech that the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea.” This following last month his commanders appearing to narrow the operation’s objectives to liberating Ukraine’s east in particular, also as heavy fighting is now taking place in the south, increasingly focused on the port city of Odesa, where Ukraine’s navy is headquartered.
On Tuesday Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines in testimony before lawmakers in the Senate said that a Russian military victory over the Donbas might not actually end the war.
“We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” she said. “Both Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to make progress militarily,” Haines said, adding, “we do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term.” Additionally she testified the US intel community’s assessment that…
- U.S. DOES NOT SEE RUSSIA USING TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS AT THIS TIME -INTELLIGENCE CHIEFS
- RUSSIA MAY STEP UP EFFORTS TO BLOCK WESTERN WEAPONS: HAINES
- PUTIN WOULD USE NUCLEAR ARMS ONLY IN EXISTENTIAL THREAT: HAINES
- RUSSIA’S PUTIN LIKELY COUNTING ON U.S., EU RESOLVE IN UKRAINE TO WEAKEN -HAINES
DNI Avril Haines tells Senate Armed Services that Russia still has maximalist goals in Ukraine, and sees the Battle of Donbas as a way to regain initiative, not merely to capture territory in the east and stop.
Uncertain, and could change, but that signals a long, protracted war. https://t.co/B9Pgw7bcJw
— Nicholas Grossman (@NGrossman81) May 10, 2022
But one might argue that the Biden administration has from the beginning of the invasion shown little to no strategy of engaging diplomatically on any serious level to end the war. In fact, an opposite picture has emerged: while pumping billions in weapons and military aid into Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said it’s America’s desire to see a “weakened” Russia due to its Ukraine offensive.
86 total views, 3 views today