According to US estimates, Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to impose martial law in the war of aggression against Ukraine. US intelligence coordinator Avril Haines said at a congressional hearing in Washington on Tuesday that because Putin’s goals outweigh the capabilities of the Russian armed forces, it is “likely” that the president will embark on an increasingly “unpredictable and potentially escalating” path in the coming months.

“The current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic measures, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalating military options,” the US intelligence director told the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

The use of nuclear weapons is unlikely. Putin should only order it if he sees an “existential threat” to Russia.

In the West, there were fears that Putin could expand his deployment in Ukraine and announce a general mobilization on Monday, the day commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany. But this did not happen.

Haines now said that Putin is preparing for a “protracted conflict in Ukraine, in which he still wants to achieve goals beyond Donbass”. The Russian President is determined to create a land connection to the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria in the east of the Republic of Moldova.

Haines, who coordinates the work of the 18 US secret services, said Putin also expects Russia to have more staying power than the West and Ukraine. “Putin most likely reckons that Russia has a greater ability and will than its opponents to weather challenges. And he’s likely counting on US and EU resolve to falter as food shortages, inflation and energy prices worsen.”


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