Ukraine, it will be a slow motion war and it will last a long time

US National Intelligence Director Avril Haines illustrates the three possible scenarios, none of which are positive. Putin maintains his ambition to take over a large part of the country, even if his military forces are unable to support that goal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin maintains his goal of taking over much of Ukraine’s territory but at the moment Moscow’s military forces have been so weakened by the fighting that they are only able to advance slowly. And this means that the war can last a long time. This is the assessment of the US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, that the invasion will go on “for an extended period”.

“We perceive a rift between Putin’s short-term military goals in this region and his military capabilities. A mismatch between his ambitions and what the military is capable of achieving,” Haines said in a speech to a conference organized by the Department of Commerce.

The outlook is not positive. There are three scenarios: the most likely is a slow-motion conflict, with Russia managing to make “incremental steps forward but without breaking through”.

Other possibilities include a major achievement by Russia or the stabilization of the front lines, with Ukrainians managing to advance, albeit only slightly. Each of these three scenarios sees Russia becoming more dependent on “asymmetrical tools” to counter its enemies (cyber attacks, control of energy resources, and even nuclear weapons).