A senior NATO intelligence official said on Monday that signs are pointing to a stalemate emerging in Russia’s war on Ukraine, with Russian ground forces remaining stalled and Russian combat aircraft unable to achieve air superiority over Ukraine.
“If we are not in a stalemate already, we are rapidly approaching one,” the official told reporters during a briefing at NATO headquarters. “And it's quite a thing to say when you consider the disparity in strength when this fight began.”
“You don't get to this point if you didn't make a series of mistakes,” the official added.
The official noted a stalemate is particularly dangerous, however, given how Russia has resorted to using less precise, more brutal weaponry against civilian targets since its campaign stalled.
“Will Ukrainians give up? No. And they have been very clear they will not give up,” the official said. “So what happens when you have these two forces running on each other in this way?”
Russia is not backing down either, despite their losses, the official said. In the last few days Russian forces have continued to assemble reinforcements and attempt to improve the logistical support in both Kyiv and the southern operational directions, the official said. The Belarusian government, meanwhile, is “preparing the environment to justify a Belarussian offensive against Ukraine,” the official added. Ukrainian officials have been warning publicly that Belarus might join the war.
It remains NATO’s assessment that Russia’s top goal is still to capture the Ukrainian capital and force a change of government there, as well as force Ukraine to adopt a neutral position with NATO and demilitarize. “I don’t think [Putin] has backed off any of his goals,” the official said.