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[NEWS] Ukraine war: Fighting set to slow for winter months, says US intelligence


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The fighting in Ukraine has been slowing down and this will likely continue in the coming winter months, US intelligence agencies believe.

However, there has been no evidence of fading resistance on the part of Ukrainian forces, US director of intelligence Avril Haines said.

She said both sides would try to "refit, resupply and reconstitute" for any counter-offensive in the spring.

It follows Russian attacks on Ukraine's critical energy infrastructure.

The war in Ukraine is now in its ninth month but Russia has lost more than half the land it seized.

Ms Haines told a defence forum in California that most of the fighting is currently around the Bakhmut and Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

She said fighting had slowed down following Russia's withdrawal of troops from the west of the Kherson region last month.

"We're seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict... and we expect that's likely to be what we see in the coming months," she told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, who was chairing the panel.

She said both Ukraine and Russian militaries would be looking to prepare for any counter-offensive after the winter.

"But we actually have a fair amount of scepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that," she said.

Forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic prepare to fire a self-propelled mortar 2S4 'Tulip' not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, 01 December 2022

"I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame."

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Ms Haines said US intelligence believes Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a full picture at this stage of just how challenged his military are.

"We see shortages of ammunition, for morale, supply issues, logistics, a whole series of concerns that they're facing."

However, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) painted a different picture in a daily review, questioning whether the freezing conditions could permit "a higher pace of operations as winter sets in".

The institute cited comments by Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine's regional governor in Luhansk, who observed that the weather in the eastern Donbas region was changing as winter conditions set in.

Previously, the ISW had asserted that operations in the Donbas were unlikely to slow down as freezing conditions created "the most optimal times of year for mechanised manoeuvre warfare".


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