The US spy chief has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if he sees an existential threat to the Russian state. Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that when tensions remain high between the superpowers, there is always a possibility of miscalculation or unintended escalation.
Putin Could Authorise Nukes
Putin could "authorize the use of nuclear weapons if he perceived an existential threat to the Russian state," she said.
Further, she briefed that Putin has limited his recent war goals only in Ukraine's east as he is regaining the military initiative. She stressed that Donbas is a temporary aim for Putin and his invasion goals are beyond Donbas.
"We are not confident that the fight in the Donbas will effectively end the war. We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas," said Haines, according to The Daily Beast.
The spy chief has also confirmed that in Ukraine, they have seen the involvement of Putin's private army Wagner Group, which is infamous for war crimes.
Haines has termed the current situation in the Ukraine war a stalemate, stressing that neither Russians nor Ukrainians are winning in the current scenario of the war.
Putin Could Impose Martial Law
Haines also speculated that Putin could impose martial law and scale-up arms production to achieve his invasion goals.
Russia has faced extensive troop losses, which has raised speculations that during worsening conditions Putin will see martial law as the most appropriate decision.
Haines also underlined that recently Moscow Metro employees were threatened to be sent into the Ukraine war, a development which suggests Russians are preparing for the worst condition in this war.
Authorities have also conducted medical examinations of all men in the metro department and they have warned that people who disobey the order could face criminal accusations.