Putin's captured war plans show his Ukraine ambitions shrinking

“There’s a general sense growing that Putin indeed is in a corner, not just in Ukraine where his army is failing, but also in facing an existential threat from Europe, now even more united because of his missteps,” says a U.S. senior intelligence official who has been involved in the deliberations.

U.S. intelligence now believes, based partly in a reading of new captured war plans and documents, that despite earlier statements, Russia has now backed away from any grand plan to take all of southern Ukraine.

“Odesa [Ukraine’s third largest city] is safe from Putin’s army and from coastal landings,” says the intelligence official who worked on the reassessment. “The Russians seem to have abandoned the notion of advancing on Mykolaiv,” the official says, while offensive efforts on the west bank of the Dnieper have been slowed by Ukrainian defenses and the ubiquitous logistics problems…

“The administration now recognizes the danger of a Ukrainian victory,” a second U.S. official says. “Now it’s not just victory on the battlefield. It’s Ukraine’s transformation into a western Army, another expansion of NATO, Austin’s statement that Russia itself is the proxy target for the United States.” The official, who works in the Pentagon, is closely following the Ukraine war and requested anonymity in order to speak about sensitive matters.

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