The suddenness of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was all too apparent when the fighting broke out in February, as evidenced by Moscow’s nigh-unbelievable unpreparedness and the bevy of illegitimate excuses that the Kremlin put forth for the action.
This sort of sloppy escalation isn’t exactly something that Russia is known for, and it led many experts around the world to wonder if something was gravely wrong with Vladimir Putin. This is when several sources began to suggest that the Russia President was suffering from terminal cancer, and that the invasion was being botched on account of his rushed fatalism.
After months of these persistent rumors, however, the director of the CIA has done a soft audit of the situation and come to a conclusion that almost sounds like a threat.
Vladimir Putin is “entirely too healthy,” CIA Director William Burns said Wednesday, throwing cold water on constant rumors that the Russian president is suffering from illness as he pursues his war on Ukraine.
Burns, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, noted that his declaration was “not a formal intelligence judgment.” Still, given his position, Burns’ comment could help dampen hopes among Putin’s adversaries that the Russian’s demise is near.
Burns spoke a day after Putin visited Iran, where he met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Burns also had an unveiled warning for Moscow:
Burns, a former career diplomat who did two tours in Moscow, spent much of his appearance in Aspen responding to questions about Russia and the war in Ukraine.
“As far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy,” he said when asked about Putin’s health.
He indicated that the Iranians should rethink any decision to give drones to Putin. At the same time, Burns said that the fact that Putin is turning to Iran for such weaponry is a sign of the weakness of Russia’s own defense sector.
Whether or not Putin truly is suffering from some terminal illness has yet to be seen, but Burns likely speaks for all of Ukraine when he says that the Russian leader is “too healthy”.