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As Russia faces setbacks in Ukraine and the prospect of economic isolation, the country might “increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, said in a report to Congress on Thursday.

The war—and stringent sanctions from Western countries—could demolish Russia’s economy and impede recent efforts to modernize its military, Berrier said in a wide-ranging assessment on global threats prepared for the House Armed Services Committee. However, even if Russia loses some of its conventional military strength due to losses in Ukraine and economic challenges, it still maintains a large nuclear arsenal, he noted.

Read the whole report here. 

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