Intelligence Community: Putin Likely To ‘Double Down’ In Ukraine

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Leaders of our intelligence community testified at a congressional committee. The big topic of course was the Russia-Ukraine situation and how it impacts our national security.

Intel leaders believe Moscow underestimated Ukraine’s resistance and Russia’s military are battling logistical issues as well as moral issues but they are also taking Putin’s retaliatory threats towards the U.S. and our allies very seriously.

In an annual congressional hearing normally used to assess global threats to the U.S. and our allies, spy agencies said Iran, China, North Korea and Russia threaten regional, global and U.S. security the most. However, the Ukraine crisis was the focus.

“The invasion has in fact proceeded consistent with the plan we assessed the Russian military would follow only they are facing significantly more resistance from the Ukrainians than they expected in countering serious military shortcomings,” said Avril Haines, director of National Intelligence.

Intelligence agencies worry Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t back down in Ukraine anytime soon.

“He’s likely to double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties,” said CIA director, William Burns.

Intel leaders also added that it was “extremely unusual” for Putin to publicly announce a heightened nuclear alert if the West and NATO interferes in Ukraine; something not seen since the 1960’s Cold War. It leads to the question: how serious is Putin on using nuclear weapons against the U.S, and our allies?

“When he says something we should listen very carefully and maybe take him at his word,” said Lt. General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. “So this question is the one that analysts are pondering right now and I think we really do need some more work on it.”

“But we do think, as I indicated, that he is effectively signaling that he’s attempting to deter,” said Haines. “We’re not seeing something at this stage that indicates that he is doing something different than what we’ve seen in the past and that’s probably as much as I can say.”

Intel leaders said they would discuss this topic further with members in a closed, non-public meeting.

In that intelligence committee today, intel agencies estimate between two-thousand and four-thousand Russian soldiers have been killed during this invasion, but analysts give that estimate low confidence because it’s also based in part on info from open sources like media and social media reports.


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