The United States' Pentagon intelligence chief has said that setbacks for Russian forces and stretched resources in Ukraine show that Moscow’s forces are incapable of achieving President Vladimir Putin’s initial invasion aims as things stand now.
“We’re coming to a point right now where I think Putin is going to have to revise what his objectives are for this operation,” Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a conference.
“It’s pretty clear right now that he’s … not going to be able to do what he initially intended to do.”
Russian forces have suffered major setbacks since the launch last week of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has forced Moscow’s troops back from large swaths of Ukraine’s northeast.
“The Russians planned for an occupation, not necessarily an invasion, and that has set them back,” Berrier said, citing Putin’s reluctance so far to fully mobilise Russian forces to get more manpower into the fight.
US President Joe Biden and other administration officials have taken care not to call Russia’s latest retreat a Ukrainian victory or turning point in the war, and analysts caution that it is impossible to assess what may lie ahead in the conflict.
“He’s coming to a decision point,” Berrier said of Putin. “What that decision will be we don’t know. But that will largely drive how long this conflict lasts.
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