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CIA Director: Putin ‘Doubling Down,’ Can’t ‘Afford to Lose’ in Ukraine


Russia’s Vladimir Putin is expected to further escalate the attacks on southern Ukraine, amid anger of the failed first phase, and will “double down” because he cannot afford to lose, according to CIA Director William Burns.

“I think Putin has staked a lot on this second phase of what is an incredibly ugly and brutal offensive against the Ukrainians,” Burns told the Financial Times’ Weekend Festival, CBS News reported, adding Putin is likely “to adapt to some of the lessons from the failures of the first phase.”

Putin has a “frame of mind in which he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” Burns added.

“I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress,” Burns said.

Despite Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noting the Russian offensive was “behind schedule” and progress has been “slow” because of “stiff Ukrainian resistance,” Burns said the U.S. must be on alert for a potential nuclear escalation, adding “we can’t take lightly those possibilities.”

“We don’t see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Burns did say.

“It was a profound mistake — it was Putin’s biggest mistake — in planning for this invasion and then in launching it, to underestimate the Ukrainians,” he continued. “And I think it’s equally a mistake for any of us to underestimate what they bring to the table in intelligence terms in defending their own country.”

Burns called out the leaks as “irresponsible” and “dangerous,” amid reports – and subsequent Biden administration denials – U.S. intelligence had helped Ukrainians sink the Moskva, Russia’s flagship guided-missile cruiser and deploy strikes that killed Russian generals,

“I absolutely agree it is irresponsible — it’s very risky, it’s dangerous when people talk too much, whether it’s leaking in private or talking in public about specific intelligence issues,” Burns said.

Burns also declined to talk about reports about Putin’s health, which have suggested he needs cancer surgery.

“Having talked before about how it’s not a smart idea to talk in public about intelligence, I’ll just return to that,” Burns said. “That’s not something I have much to offer on.”

And, with respect to China’s support for Russia’s escalations, Burns warned to “not underestimate” the nature of ” Xi Jinping’s commitment to his partnership with Putin’s Russia.”

“I think that’s a reflection of the commitment of both leaderships to a partnership which each sees as useful, mainly in competition with the United States,” Burns said, adding Chinese leader Xi Jinping has to be “unsettled” by the “brutishness” of Putin’s war.

“I think those are all sharp lessons that the Chinese leadership is paying careful attention to,” Burns concluded.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



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