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Intelligence Director Avril Haines: No Negotiations Viable in Ukraine, Expect a Long ‘War of Attrition’

May 11, 2022 (EIRNS)—Yesterday U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, with Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier at her side, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on worldwide threats. As might be expected, the Russian military operation in Ukraine dominated the discussion. Her remarks, as reported in the news media, never strayed from the narrative of poor Russian military performance in Ukraine being a driver for a purportedly desperate Vladimir Putin, and forecast a long and bloody “war of attrition” against Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies “do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term,” Haines claimed. “The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives as the conflict drags on, or if he perceives Russia is losing in Ukraine.”

As for the matter of nuclear war:

“Obviously we’re in a position where we’re supporting Ukraine, but we also don’t want to ultimately end up in World War III, and we don’t want to have a situation in which actors are using nuclear weapons. Our view [is] that there is not sort of an imminent potential for Putin to use nuclear weapons.... We do think that [Putin’s perception of an existential threat] could be the case in the event that he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that NATO in effect is either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine.” But not to worry: “There are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to nuclear weapons, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signaling beyond what he’s done thus far before doing so,”

Haines said.

Haines also told the Senators that “the uncertain nature of the battle, which is developing into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory. Haines added that Putin could seek “more drastic means” on the home front and abroad to achieve his objectives, including imposing martial law, shifting industrial production to sustain the war effort and “potentially escalatory military actions.”

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