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Putin views Ukraine conflict as war he cannot afford to lose: US Intel chiefs

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said at a congressional hearing that the US intelligence assesses Putin is unlikely to be deterred by the setbacks the Russian military has faced in Ukraine, suggesting he is doubling down on his campaign to keep Ukraine from joining NATO.

IANS | New Delhi |

The US intelligence community believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin views the conflict in Ukraine as a “war he cannot afford to lose”, suggesting he is likely to escalate the conflict without any concern for the number of civilians killed, the US’s top intelligence chiefs told the US Congress, CNN reported.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said at a congressional hearing that the US intelligence assesses Putin is unlikely to be deterred by the setbacks the Russian military has faced in Ukraine, suggesting he is doubling down on his campaign to keep Ukraine from joining NATO.

CIA Director William Burns said Putin had launched the invasion “determined to dominate and control Ukraine” based on a set of assumptions that the conflict would be successful, including that Ukraine was weak, that European allies like France and Germany were risk-averse, that he had “sanctions-proofed” his economy and that his military was capable of a quick and decisive victory at minimal cost, CNN reported.

“He’s been proven wrong on every count,” Burns said.

The discussion of Putin’s motivations that led to Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine last month — and the sweeping, crippling sanctions from the West in response — offered the most public assessment to date of the US view of Putin’s ill-fated war in Ukraine.

The intelligence community — which forecast Putin’s moves in the lead-up to the invasion — testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday at an annual worldwide threats hearing.

“This is a matter of deep personal conviction for him,” Burns told the committee. “He’s been stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years”, CNN reported.