For months, officials have suggested that the war could simmer as the winter months make for non-ideal conditions, and Haines’s office has seen “a kind of reduced tempo already of the conflict … and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” she said on Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.
Both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries will be looking to use the opportunity to refit and resupply, though Haines expressed skepticism on Russia’s ability to do that in part because it is going through military stockpiles “quite quickly” and, as a result, said, “I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”
“It’s really pretty extraordinary, and our own sense is that they are not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage,” she added. “That’s why you see them going to other countries effectively to try to get ammunition … and we’ve indicated that their precision munitions are running out much faster in many respects.”
Russia has already sought to acquire weapons from Iran and North Korea, drones from the former and artillery shells from the latter, to help replenish its quickly diminished stockpiles.
A Ukrainian armed forces spokesperson said a day later that they’re “doing everything to be ready for the winter period of military operations” and are preparing equipment and units for winter combat, according to CNBC.
Monday marked Russian forces’ latest wave of missile strikes across Ukraine. Since mid-October, Russia’s military has launched repeated aerial missile barrages targeting critical infrastructure, which has resulted in significant damage to the energy grid, leaving millions of people to face the winter elements at times without electricity, heat, or running water. Ukrainian officials, following these strikes, work to get necessities back as quickly as possible, though infrastructure is facing significant stresses.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that they would describe Monday’s barrage as in the “dozens” and described it as the “brutality of continuing to strike clearly civilian targets.”