More than a year after launching its brutal war in Ukraine, Russia is now facing an ammunition shortage making it “increasingly challenging for them to sustain even modest offensive operations,” America’s top intelligence official told lawmakers Thursday. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin likely has “scaled back his immediate ambitions” in Ukraine, aiming now to strengthen his grip on occupied territory in the east and south, instead of a total takeover, she added.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’ update on Russia came during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday in which she shared views on other threats around the world, including an increasingly aggressive China. Her comments came as lawmakers are considering a new effort to strengthen America’s global competitiveness (more on that later) and as they debate the future of Ukraine aid.
The war there has had a high cost. Earlier this week, the White House estimated more than 20,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since December, and 80,000 others wounded. The White House didn’t release an official estimate of Ukrainian casualties.
Ukraine faces challenges, too: American officials have predicted Ukrainian forces could deplete air defense munitions by the end of May, according to leaked Pentagon documents. As the Morning Dispatch team wrote earlier this week, Ukraine appears ready to launch a spring counteroffensive soon to retake occupied territory and push back the battlelines. (Read more here.)