According to CNN, the US intelligence community believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin views the conflict in Ukraine as a “war he cannot afford to lose,” implying that he is likely to escalate the conflict without regard for the number of civilians killed.
At a congressional hearing, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines stated that US intelligence believes Putin is unlikely to be deterred by the setbacks the Russian military has suffered in Ukraine, implying that he is doubling down on his campaign to keep Ukraine from joining NATO.
According to CNN, CIA Director William Burns stated that Putin 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, European allies like France and Germany were risk-averse, he had “sanctions-proofed” his economy, and his military was capable of a quick and decisive victory at minimal cost.
“He’s been proven wrong on every count,” Burns said.
The debate over Putin’s motivations for Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine last month – and the West’s sweeping, crippling sanctions in response – provided the most public assessment of the US view of Putin’s ill-fated war in Ukraine to date.
The intelligence community, which predicted Putin’s moves in the run-up to the invasion, testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday during an annual global 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.