Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin still wants to take most of Ukraine, but a breakthrough in the east of the country to other major cities outside the Donbas remains unlikely in the near term, even as Moscow’s troops consolidate their gains, said the top US intelligence official on Wednesday.
The consensus among US intelligence agencies is that the war in Ukraine is likely to last for an extended period of time, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, said in her first public update on intelligence assessments of the war in more than a month.
Russia, she said, controls about 20 percent of Ukraine, with a line of conflict stretching for about 680 miles. Insurgent resistance from Ukrainians in Russian-occupied parts of the country is increasing, Ms Haines said, making it less likely that Russia will make a quick profit or that a peaceful solution can be reached.
Ukrainian forces have been able to maintain many of their combat positions in the eastern Donbas region, including Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. US intelligence thinks it will be difficult for the Russian military to take the part of Donetsk they don’t already have.
Ms. Haines said the most likely scenario in the coming weeks and months was that “the conflict remains a drag-and-drop in which the Russians gradually make gains, but no breakthrough.”
In that case, Russia will have secured Luhansk, which it currently largely controls, and much of Donetsk and consolidated its control in southern Ukraine.
A less likely scenario is a breakthrough by Russia that would allow them to refocus attacks on Kharkiv in the northeast or Odessa in the southwest. Ukraine could also start stabilizing its front lines in the Donbas and make small gains.
“Basically, the picture remains pretty grim,” Ms Haines said.
Ms. Haines’ comments came at a conference hosted by the US Department of Commerce to discuss export controls. The Biden administration is trying to slow down Russian arms production by denying parts made with Western technology. Earlier in the day, Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said US and international controls had cut Russia’s exports of semiconductors and computer chips by 90 percent.
“It is clear that Russian companies lack the chips and semiconductors they need,” said Ms Raimondo.