The highest US spy company says extra safety help from allies is essential for Ukraine to prevail

Members of Ukraine’s 95th Air Assault Brigade defend an area near the front line of fighting outside Kremina, Ukraine, on January 12, 2023.

Spencer Platt | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The director of America’s leading spy agency described Russia’s war in Ukraine as a “grueling conflict” that will require the West to continue to provide security packages so Kyiv can prevail.

Avril Haines, director of the US National Intelligence Agency, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum that both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries face significant challenges, but the war has not yet reached a stalemate.

“It’s not a stalemate, it’s really a grueling conflict where we’re literally talking about hundreds of yards being fought over in the context of the front lines,” Haines said in Davos, Switzerland.

“It will be extremely important for Ukraine to receive essential military and economic assistance so that it can continue to do what it has done heroically,” she added.

The US has provided the lion’s share of security aid to the fight. Last week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced one of the largest arms packages since the full-scale invasion of Russia began nearly a year ago.

Austin said the latest package of US military equipment for Ukraine is valued at $2.5 billion and will help “meet Ukraine’s most pressing battlefield needs.”

The forthcoming military aid, the 30th tranche of its kind, brings the US commitment to Ukraine’s struggle to more than $26 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration.

A Ukrainian soldier holds a Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon (NLAW) at a position not far from the front line in southern Kharkiv region, July 11, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

“Weapons are the way to peace,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg next to Haines. “It may sound paradoxical, but the only way to reach a negotiated agreement is to convince the President [Vladimir] Putin that they will not win on the battlefield and he needs to sit down and negotiate.”

Stoltenberg added that Ukraine’s fight has the full force of the 30-member NATO alliance because it is a “fight for democracy.” He said: “It is extremely important that President Putin does not win this war, it will be a tragedy for Ukrainians, but also very dangerous for all of us.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the West must do more to support Ukraine, adding that aid from allies “still isn’t enough”.

“Ukraine needs more of our efforts, needs more of our help and we should mobilize to help them because their situation is really difficult,” he said, adding that the war is approaching a crucial moment.

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