The fighting in Ukraine has been slowing down and this will likely continue in the coming winter months, US intelligence agencies have predicted.
However, there has been no evidence of fading resistance on the part of Ukrainian forces, US director of intelligence Avril Haines said.
She said both sides would try to “refit, resupply and reconstitute” for any counter-offensive in the spring.
It follows Russian attacks on Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure.
The war in Ukraine is now in its ninth month, but Russia has lost more than half the land it seized.
“We’re seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict… and we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” she said.
She said both Ukraine and Russian militaries would be looking to to prepare for any counter-offensive after the winter.
“But we actually have a fair amount of scepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that,” she said.
“I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky described a price cap set by his Western allies on Russia n oil exports “weak” and said it was not “serious” enough to damage to the Russian economy.
The cap, due to come into force on Monday is aimed at stopping countries paying more than $60 (£48) for a barrel of seaborne Russian crude oil.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow had prepared for the move but would not sell its oil under the cap.
At a virtual meeting on Sunday, a group of the world’s top oil-producing countries is expected to stick to its oil output targets.
At their last ministerial session in October, the Opec+ group – made up of countries including Russia and the United Arab Emirates – agreed to reduce output by two million barrel s per day from November in a bid to help boost oil prices.