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US View of Putin: Anger, Frustration, Potential to Escalate War

Washington (AP) — More than two weeks after the start of the war He expects to rule in two days, and Vladimir Putin predicts anger, frustration with his military failure, and a willingness to cause more violence and destruction in Ukraine, in an assessment by U.S. intelligence officials. ..

Recent officials have publicly stated that the Russian president may escalate the conflict in an attempt to break Ukrainian resistance. Russia still has an overwhelming military advantage and could attack the country for several more weeks.And the rest of the world reacts horribly to images of war He started, Putin remains isolated from domestic pressure by what CIA Director William Burns called the “propaganda bubble.”

Putin’s thinking — as difficult as judging from a distance — It is important for the West to understand in order to increase military aid to Ukraine and prevent Putin from directly countering NATO countries or obtaining nuclear buttons. In a two-day testimony before Congress last week, intelligence officials expressed concern about what. Putin may do so. And those concerns are increasingly shaping the debate about what US policymakers are trying to do for Ukraine.

Over 20 yearsPutin achieved full control of the Russian government and security services, ruled with a small inner circle, downplayed objections, and imprisoned or killed opponents. He has long criticized the collapse of the Soviet Union, dismissed Ukraine’s claim of sovereignty, and ended in a nuclear war with the Russians as “martyrs.” Mr Putin told lawmakers that he believed that Putin had “simmered in a flammable combination of dissatisfaction and ambition for many years.”

Putin expected to occupy Kyiv in two days, but instead his army was unable to control major cities and had already lost thousands of soldiers. The West has imposed sanctions and other measures, crippling the Russian economy and lowering the standard of living. Much of Russia’s accumulated foreign currency as a breakwater against sanctions is now frozen at foreign banks.

Mr Burns, a former US ambassador to Moscow who has met Putin many times, told lawmakers that he did not think Putin was crazy, answering questions about the state of mind of the Russian president.

“I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now,” he said.

Russia’s recent unsupported claims The U.S.’s support for Ukraine in developing chemical or biological weapons suggests that Putin himself may be ready to deploy those weapons in a “false flag” operation. Yes, Burns said.

There is no clear way Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been praised around the world for leading his own resistance, suddenly admits Russia’s merger of Crimea and gives new autonomy to Russia’s friendly territories in eastern Ukraine. It is almost unthinkable to support it. Putin would have to explain the Western-backed rebellion in more than 40 million countries, even if he captured Kiiv and expelled Zelensky.

“He does not have a sustainable political end in the face of continued fierce resistance from Ukrainians,” Burns said.

President Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said Putin “I think this is an unbeatable war, but given the enormous costs he bears, it’s a victory. I may be willing to accept it. “

Putin’s recent increase in Russia’s nuclear alert level was “perhaps intended to discourage the West from providing additional assistance to Ukraine,” intelligence analysts said.

Concerns about the White House’s escalation can be frustrating for both Democrats and Republicans. After first expressing support, the Biden administration recently refused to support Poland’s plan to donate Soviet-era fighters to Ukraine, which the United States would have required to join the United States. Transfer. The administration previously postponed sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and did not send Stinger air defense missiles to Ukraine before changing course.

Asked Thursday, Haynes said Putin might see the movement of the plane as a bigger deal than anti-aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons already heading to Ukraine.

US Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democratic member of the Illinois state and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the Biden administration was “always one or two steps behind” for fear of Putin’s invocation. airplane.

“If anyone thinks Putin will distinguish and differentiate,” Oh, well, they’re taking off from Poland, “he said. He sees all of this as escalating. “

Meanwhile, as violence worsens and more Russians die, the West is also watching for signs of a hole in Putin’s “propaganda bubble.” An independent Russian political analyst, Kirill Rogov, posted in his Telegram account that the war was “lost” and “a grand failure.”

“The mistake was the idea that the West didn’t want to resist the attack, was lethargic, greedy, and divided. The idea that the Russian economy was self-sufficient and safe was wrong. The mistake was that idea. And the main mistake was the idea that Ukraine was a failed nation and Ukrainians were not.

“There are many four mistakes in making one decision,” he said.

Prior to the invasion, a poll conducted by Russia’s top independent opinion poll, Levada Center, found that 60% of respondents considered the United States and NATO to be the “initiators” of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. .. Only 3% responded to Russia. The poll was conducted in January. And since February, and since the beginning of the war, the Levada Center has not released a new poll.

Outsiders find honest depictions of the war through relatives and online, such as ordinary Russians responding to sharp declines in living standards and using VPN software to bypass the Kremlin block on social media. I want The US and Ukrainian governments are pushing the story that Russia cannot afford to lose the war.

“Otherwise it would lead to the death of Russia itself,” said Vladimir Solobyov, host of the prime-time talk show on national television channel Russia 1 on his daily radio show last week.

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The Associated Press writer Lynn Berry contributed to this report.

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