As the Ukraine-Russia conflict soon enters its sixth week, a number of media pundits and analysts have touted the brave and stiff Ukrainian resistance that has essentially served to stall Russia’s advance in the country.
However, while it might be growing easier to make an argument that Vladimir Putin could have bitten off more than he can chew, John Brennan, former director of the CIA, believes that it would be foolish to count Putin out just yet, as Brennan believes the Russian dictator is still keen on taking over the entirety of Ukraine, the Washington Examiner reports.
Brennan’s assertion came up as he was asked, as many other foreign policy experts have in recent days, if there’s a chance that Russia could soon pack it up and head back east, given that what should have been a successful three to five-day invasion has turned into a months-long affair.
Others are pinning the blame for a lack of progress on Putin’s top military leaders, who some now believe have purposely misled the Russian president about the reality of what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine so as to not anger him and risk dying as a result.
The way ahead
Brennan, and several others with his level of Russia/Putin expertise, seem to be confident that Putin’s perceived lack of progress will only serve to force the Russian leader to come up with a new strategy.
The former CIA chief said Putin and his leaders are “trying to figure out exactly the way ahead and so why that’s why they are sending signals about negotiations and cease-fires,” adding that he also thinks Russian leaders are using the downtime to “reorient their forces, reposition them, and resupply them.”
As far as giving up his conquest? Not so fast, Brennan said.
“I don’t believe for one moment that Putin has given up on his objective of actually taking over Ukraine.”
The declassified intel
As far as the theory that Putin might have been misled by his top military commanders, it appears as though that’s likely the case, given a recent trove of bombshell declassified U.S. intelligence that seemed to indicate as much.
According to CNBC, the intel was also confirmed by the White House last week.
“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said.
One U.S. official reportedly revealed that Putin might not even be aware that his commanders have resorted to using conscripts, let alone knowing that those conscripts are dying at the hands of determined Ukrainians. Only time will tell if Putin takes more drastic action, but according to Brennan, he’s certainly not done yet.