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US military intelligence says Putin is unable to reach Ukraine’s target

Russia “planned an occupation, not necessarily an invasion, and that set them back,” says a Pentagon official.

Setbacks for Russian forces and strained resources in Ukraine show Moscow’s forces as of today are unable to achieve President Vladimir Putin’s original invasion goals, the Pentagon intelligence chief said.

“We’re getting to a point where I think Putin needs to revise his goals for this operation,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a conference on Friday.

“It’s pretty clear right now that he… won’t be able to do what he originally set out to do.”

Russian forces have suffered major setbacks since the launch of a Ukrainian counter-offensive last week that pushed back Moscow’s troops from much of northeastern Ukraine.

“The Russians were planning occupation, not necessarily invasion, and that set them back,” Berrier said, citing Putin’s previous reluctance to fully mobilize Russian forces to bring more manpower into combat.

US President Joe Biden and other administration officials have been careful not to call Russia’s recent withdrawal a Ukrainian victory or a turning point in the war, and analysts warn that it’s impossible to gauge what might lie ahead in the conflict.

“He comes to a decision,” Berrier said of Putin.

“We don’t know what that decision will look like. But that will go a long way in determining how long this conflict will last.”

Berrier was speaking on a panel with other senior officials at the intelligence community’s Intelligence and National Security Summit at National Harbor in Maryland, just outside of Washington.

CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said Putin’s “risk appetite” should not be underestimated.

“I don’t think we should underestimate Putin’s adherence to his original agenda, which was to control Ukraine. I don’t think we’ve seen any reason to think he’s moved away from that.”

Separately, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan on Friday, Putin vowed to step up his attack on Ukraine and warned that Moscow could step up its attacks on the country’s infrastructure if Ukrainian forces attack facilities in Russia.

Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbass region is Russia’s top military goal and he sees no need to revise it.

“We are in no hurry,” said the Russian leader.

US military officials said on Friday that two new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars (NASAMS) will be delivered to Ukraine.

Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that “two NASAMS are scheduled to be delivered within the next two months or so.”

The White House said it is the 21st time the Defense Department has pulled guns and other equipment off the shelves to ship to Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Ryder said western weapons and supplies had played a role in the success of the current Ukrainian counteroffensive.

According to Ryder, U.S. officials and their counterparts from nearly 50 nations have pledged to keep the arms supply chain flowing to Ukraine and also to increase aid to Ukraine’s medium- and long-term defense.

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