US intel chief pondering ‘optimistically’ for Ukraine forces


KYIV, Ukraine — The top of U.S. intelligence says combating in Russia’s warfare in Ukraine is working at a “reduced tempo” and suggests Ukrainian forces might have brighter prospects in coming months.

Avril Haines alluded to previous allegations by some that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers may very well be shielding him from unhealthy information — for Russia — about warfare developments, and mentioned he “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia.”

“But it’s still not clear to us that he has a full picture of at this stage of just how challenged they are,” Haines, the U.S. director of nationwide intelligence, mentioned Saturday on the Reagan Nationwide Protection Discussion board in Simi Valley, California.

She mentioned her crew was “seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict” and looking out forward expects each side will look to refit, resupply, and reconstitute for a potential Ukrainian counter-offensive within the spring.

“But we actually have a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be in fact prepared to do that,” mentioned Haines, talking to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “And I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”

On Sunday, the British Ministry of Protection, in its newest intelligence estimate, pointed to new indicators from an impartial Russian media outlet that public help in Russia for the army marketing campaign was “falling significantly.”

Meduza mentioned it obtained a latest confidential opinion survey performed by the Federal Safety Service, which is in control of guarding the Kremlin and offering safety to high authorities officers.

The survey, commissioned by the Kremlin, discovered that 55% of respondents backed peace talks with Ukraine whereas 25% needed the warfare to go on. The report didn’t point out the margin of error.

Levada Heart, Russia’s high impartial pollster, present in an identical ballot carried out in November that 53% of respondents supported peace talks, 41% spoke in favor of continuous the struggle, and 6% have been undecided. It mentioned that ballot of 1,600 folks had a margin of error of not more than 3.4%.

The British Protection Ministry famous that “despite the Russian authorities’ efforts to enforce pervasive control of the information environment, the conflict has become increasingly tangible for many Russians” since Putin in September ordered a “partial mobilization” of reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine.

“With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes in the next several months, maintaining even tacit approval of the war amongst the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin,” the British ministry mentioned.

In latest weeks, Russia’s army focus has been on putting Ukrainian infrastructure nationwide, urgent an offensive within the Donetsk area metropolis of Bakhmut and shelling websites within the metropolis of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces liberated final month after an 8-month Russian occupation.

In his nightly handle on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lashed out at Western efforts to crimp Russia’s essential oil trade, a key supply of funds for Putin’s warfare machine, saying their $60-per-barrel worth cap on imports of most Russian oil was inadequate.

“It is not a serious decision to set such a limit for Russian prices, which is quite comfortable for the budget of the terrorist state,” Zelenskyy mentioned, referring to Russia. He mentioned the $60-per-barrel degree would nonetheless permit Russia to herald $100 billion in revenues per yr.

“This money will go not only to the war and not only to further sponsorship by Russia of other terrorist regimes and organisations. This money will be used for further destabilisation of those countries that are now trying to avoid serious decisions,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, the US and the 27-nation European Union agreed Friday to cap what they’d pay for Russian oil at $60 per barrel. The restrict is ready to take impact Monday, together with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea.

Russian authorities have rejected the worth cap and threatened Saturday to cease supplying the nations that endorsed it.

“We will sell oil and oil products to those countries, which will work with us on market conditions, even if we have to somewhat cut production,” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak mentioned Sunday.

In one more present of Western help for Ukraine’s efforts to battle again Russian forces and deal with fallout from the warfare, U.S. Underneath Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on Saturday visited the operations of a Ukrainian support group that gives help for internally displaced folks in Ukraine, amongst her different visits with high Ukrainian officers.

Nuland assembled dolls out of yarn within the blue-and-yellow colours of Ukraine’s flag with kids from areas together with Kharkiv within the northeast, Kherson within the south and Donetsk within the east.

“This is psychological support for them at an absolutely crucial time,” Nuland mentioned.

“As President Putin knows best, this war could stop today, if he chose to stop it and withdrew his forces — and then negotiations can begin,” she added.

Service provider reported from Washington.

Comply with AP’s protection of the warfare in Ukraine:

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