How wrong the intelligence agencies have been is up for debate. Before the invasion, Ukraine experts “clearly and repeatedly” told policymakers in the White House and Congress that the Ukrainian government and the people would “probably resist a Russian invasion,” a US official said.
But intelligence reports are usually covered up. And under questioning from Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said this month that before the invasion, he thought the Ukrainians weren’t as ready for an attack as they were. had to be.
“That’s why I doubted their will to fight. That was a bad assessment on my part, because they fought bravely and honorably,” said General Berrier.
In an interview, Mr. Cotton that intelligence agencies rated Russia at their best in the run-up to the invasion. Once the invasion began, assessments of Ukraine’s and the Russian military’s capabilities were “less than great.” Still, he said, it’s difficult to assess how effective a country’s defenses will be against a potential attack.
†The will to fight is not a separate area of intelligence that you can gather on it,” said Mr. cotton. “It’s not like how many working fighters an air force had? There is a lot of subjectivity.”
The Ukrainian military’s recent counter-offensive suggests that the country’s leaders are determined to do more than just defend Ukraine against Russian invasion. For the past week, Ukrainian forces have used tanks and fighter jets to attack Russian positions outside Kiev and other cities in a way that demonstrates that their aim is not to take back territory, but to destroy Russian forces. It is not only a sign of a clever strategy, but also of a clear intention of Ukraine to defeat the Russian army and win the war.
Representative Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said it’s easy to exaggerate what the intelligence community has done wrong, both in Ukraine and in Afghanistan. Last summer, intelligence agencies repeatedly warned that the Afghan government would collapse and military leaders surrender to the Taliban, Mr Schiff said.