WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin still wants to take most of Ukraine and the picture for the war there remains "pretty grim," the top U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday.
"We continue to be in a position where we look at President Putin and we think he has effectively the same political goals that we had previously, which is to say that he wants to take most of Ukraine," Avril Haines, the U.S, Director of National Intelligence, told a Commerce Department conference.
Haines said U.S. intelligence agencies see three possible scenarios in the near term, the most likely being a grinding conflict in which Russian forces only make incremental gains, but no breakthrough towards Putin's goal.
The other scenarios include a major Russian breakthrough and Ukraine succeeding in stabilizing the frontlines while achieving small gains perhaps near the Russian-held city of Kherson and other areas of southern Ukraine.
"In short, the picture remains pretty grim," said Haines.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Jonathan Landay, Alexandra Alper and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Alistair Bell)