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US intel chief: Putin ready for long war in Ukraine, wants land bridge to Transnistria

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies about worldwide threats during a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies about worldwide threats during a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not end the Ukraine war with the Donbas campaign and is determined to build a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines says today.

US intelligence also views it increasingly likely that Putin will mobilize his entire country, including ordering martial law, and is counting on his perseverance to wear down Western support for Ukraine.

“We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines says.

US intelligence thinks Putin’s decision to concentrate Russian forces in the eastern Donbas region is “only a temporary shift” after their failure to capture Kyiv in the north.

Russian forces still intend to win territory across the Black Sea coast, in part to secure water resources for Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014, Haines tells the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We… see indications that the Russian military wants to extend the land bridge to Transnistria,” Haines says, referring to the Moscow-backed separatist region of Moldova along Ukraine’s southwest border.

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