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CIA director says US intelligence hasn’t concluded Russia will invade Ukraine

CIA Director nominee William Burns
Reuters/Pool

CIA Director William Burns said on Monday that Russian military forces “could act in a very sweeping way” but U.S. intelligence agencies have yet to conclude decisively that Moscow will invade Ukraine. 

“I would never underestimate President Putin’s risk appetite on Ukraine,” Burns said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.

“We don’t know that Putin has made up his mind to use force,” he added. “But what we do know is that he’s putting the Russian military, Russian security services in a place where they could act in a very sweeping way.”

Roughly 90,000 Russian troops have gathered near the Ukrainian border, causing concerns of a potential invasion in Ukraine and among its Western allies. 

While Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Biden are scheduled to speak via video conference on Tuesday, the Kremlin has said they do not expect any breakthroughs. 

“There’s no need to expect any breakthroughs from this conversation. It is a working conversation at a very difficult period,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said of the upcoming call to reporters.

Burns told the Journal that the meeting would be an opportunity “to reinforce, re-emphasize the costs of the use of force.” 

During the call, Biden is expected to highlight that the U.S. is prepared to impose harsh economic consequences on Moscow should it invade Ukraine. 

Last week, U.S. intelligence obtained by The Washington Post said that Russia is planning a military offensive against Ukraine that would involve about 175,000 troops along the border and could take place as early as next year.

Tags Joe Biden Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine US intelligence US-Russia relations Vladimir Putin William Burns
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