The war in Ukraine could enter a more unpredictable, volatile and bloody phase in the coming months and could extend beyond what seems now the intention on the part of the Russians to control only the Donbas, in the Ukrainian east, according to the director of National Intelligence of the USA, Avril Haines.

In an appearance before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Haines stated that Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s strategic objectives in Ukraine "they probably haven’t changed" since the invasion began, local media reported.

“The uncertain nature of the battle, which is turning into a war of attrition, combined with the reality that Putin is facing a mismatch between its ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilitiesprobably means that in the coming months we could move in a more unpredictable direction and a further escalation of violence"assured Haines, as published by the magazine Politico.

“At a minimum, we believe this situation will mark the beginning" of a decision-making period more adjusted to the circumstances of the offensive by Russia, he specified.

He added that Putin could seek "more drastic means" on the home front and abroad to achieve their goals, including imposing martial law, shifting industrial production to sustain the war effort, and "larger military action".

the kremlin has threatened to use nuclear weaponsin rhetoric that Haines said is aimed at dissuading the United States and other allies from providing Ukraine with more combat equipment.

Putin could carry out new nuclear tests as a warning to the West, Haines added, although he said he believed he would only approve the use of these weapons “if he really perceives an existential threat to the Russian state or regime.”

Although Russia appears to have changed its strategy and focused on controlling Donbas, where Ukrainian troops have spent years fighting Russian-backed separatists, Haines believes that Putin intends to expand the war beyond that regionwhich is the industrial heart of the country.

The US intelligence chief stressed that Moscow is seeking to create a land bridge from the occupied Crimean peninsula to Transnistria in neighboring Moldova, but cannot do so without greater military mobilization.

“Even if they are successful, we are not sure that the fighting in Donbas will effectively end the war,” he said.

“We assess that President Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve larger goals."according to the testimony of the director of National Intelligence that is also collected by CNN.

Haines testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as part of the Senate’s annual threat hearing, in which the invasion of Ukraine by part of Russia, which began on February 24, occupied most of the session.

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