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come hell or high water

Putin views Ukraine conflict as a war 'he cannot afford to lose,' U.S. official says

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold, CIA Director William Burns predicted during a congressional hearing that onlookers can expect an "ugly next few weeks."

"I think [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is angry and frustrated right now," Burns told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. "He's likely to try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties."

That said, Burns later noted he and other CIA analysts are "absolutely convinced" the Ukrainians will continue to resist Russia "fiercely and effectively."

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines also told the committee that Putin "feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose."

Though the Russian president likely expected a certain degree of sanctions before beginning the Moscow-led invasion, Haines said, "[w]e judge that he did not anticipate either the degree to which the United States and its allies and partners would take steps to undermine his capacity to mitigate Western actions, or the pullback from Russia initiated by non-state actors in the private sector."

"Nevertheless, our analysts assessed that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks and instead may escalate, essentially doubling down to achieve Ukrainian disarmament and neutrality," she continued.

At least 2 million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began.