11 July 2024

The U.S. intelligence community expects the reduced tempo in fighting in Ukraine to continue in coming months, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Saturday (December 03).

Haines, who made the remarks at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California, detailed U.S. intelligence assessments on a variety of topics, including the Ukraine war, Russia and protests in China.

Speaking about the Ukraine war, Haines said that while the conflict has wound down to an extent, the U.S. expects both Ukraine and Russia to prepare for counteroffensives in the Spring.

“We actually have a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that,” she said, “And I think yeah, I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”

Haines cast doubt on Russia’s ability to resupply.

“Our own sense is that they [RUSSIA] are not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage,” she said.

Haines said that dissent in Russia over the war was significant but not at a critical mass.

“You’ve seen some of the sort of more significant figures in Russia, you know, provide more critical views of the war and what’s happening and Putin than you have in the past, but nothing that amounts to likely regime change,” she said.

Haines also spoke about protests in China over the government’s zero-Covid policy, saying that it was revelatory of Chinese President Xi’s inflexible governing style.

“I think, is highlighting the fact that despite the impact it’s having on the economy, despite the human impact of the Zero-Covid policy on communities who, you know, are experiencing this in China, he’s unwilling to take a better vaccine from the West and is instead relying on a vaccine in China that’s just not nearly as effective,” she said.

A deadly apartment fire last month in the far western city of Urumqi sparked dozens of protests against COVID curbs in over 20 cities in a wave unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

By Reuters