At the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia spent a great deal of time trying to make sure that there was no international interference. There was posturing, there were threats…some of them rather serious.
But now that the world has gotten a good look at what Russia is actually capable of militarily, it’s hard to take all of their puffery seriously. They’ve been finding that even the modest Ukrainian military is giving them a great deal of trouble.
This has emboldened the international community a great deal. So much so, in fact, that the director of the CIA has traveled to Kyiv to share major military intel with Ukraine’s President.
CIA Director William J. Burns traveled in secret to Ukraine’s capital at the end of last week to brief President Volodymyr Zelensky on his expectations for what Russia is planning militarily in the coming weeks and months, said a U.S. official and other people familiar with the visit.
Burns’s travel comes at a critical juncture in the 11-month war. Russian forces are mounting a massive assault near the eastern city of Bakhmut that is causing many casualties on both sides and forcing Ukraine to weigh its resources there as it prepares a major counteroffensive elsewhere in the country.
The pair pontificated on America’s support for Ukraine in the future as well.
Top of mind for Zelensky and his senior intelligence officials during the meeting was how long Ukraine could expect U.S. and Western assistance to continue following Republicans’ takeover of the House and a drop-off in support of Ukraine aid among parts of the U.S. electorate, said people familiar with the meeting. All spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private high-level engagement.
Burns emphasized the urgency of the moment on the battlefield and acknowledged that at some point assistance would be harder to come by, the people said.
The trip itself will likely come as a slap-to-the-face for Vladimir Putin, whose humiliation in Ukraine continues nearly unabated into it’s second year in just a few scant weeks.