CIA Director William Burns reportedly traveled to Kyiv late last week to brief Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Russia’s next military moves, a U.S. official confirmed Thursday.
“Director Burns traveled to Kyiv where he met with Ukrainian intelligence counterparts as well as President Zelensky and reinforced our continued support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” a U.S. official said, according to the Washington Post.
Exclusive: CIA Director William Burns secretly traveled to Ukraine’s capital at the end of last week to brief President Volodymyr Zelensky on the U.S. government’s assessment of the weeks and months ahead. https://t.co/AHVK3rgm9I pic.twitter.com/NDPBxHzTGx
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 19, 2023
Eleven months into the war, Russia prepares to launch a major counteroffensive, according to the Washington Post. During last week’s meeting, Burns reportedly outlined U.S. expectations for Russia’s military plans in the coming weeks. (RELATED: US Gave Intelligence To Ukraine Used To Kill Russian Generals: REPORT)
The meeting reportedly took place as the United States shied away from calls to supply a battle-weary Ukraine with heavy weaponry. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced another military assistance package for Kyiv on Friday, consisting of $2.5 billion worth of ammunition and equipment, according to the Department of Defense.
The most recent package brings total aid to $26.7 billion since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, but future assistance could slow. House Republicans continue to emphasize the need for accountability of Ukraine-bound dollars. Some suggest prospects for continued large-scale aid could narrow with a Republican-controlled House, the Washington Post noted.
Zelensky and his aids favor Burns, who has previously expressed skepticism regarding Russia’s willingness to negotiate an end to the war, according to the Washington Post.
“I don’t underestimate for a moment the burdens, the challenges that this war poses for UkrainiansI don’t underestimate for a moment the burdens, the challenges that this war poses for Ukrainians, first and foremost, but for all of us who support Ukraine,” the CIA director told PBS in a December interview.