According to CIA Director William Burns, Russia’s involvement in the war in Ukraine has had a negative impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The conflict has caused discontent, which the CIA sees as a unique opportunity for their agency.
During his speech at the Ditchley Foundation in the UK, Burns expressed his view that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is currently the most pressing and significant geopolitical challenge to the international order.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, led his forces in a brief mutiny against Russia’s military command. The address arrived one week later.
While doing so, he made accusations against Russia, claiming that they were deliberately targeting his forces with lethal missile strikes in Ukraine. He also criticized Moscow’s version of events surrounding the conflict, stating that it was initiated by individuals seeking personal gain and referred to them as “a bunch of bastards.” Additionally, he mentioned that Russian troops were withdrawing from the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.
Burns mentioned that the consequences of those words and actions will continue to unfold, serving as a clear reminder of how Putin’s war has negatively affected both his society and his regime.
He described the war as a “strategic failure” for Moscow, pointing out that it has revealed military vulnerabilities, caused economic damage, and led to the growth of a larger and stronger NATO.
The Russian leadership will continue to be affected by disaffection with the war, which will gradually erode their support. He said that the disaffection presents us with a rare opportunity at the CIA.
He mentioned that we’re not allowing it to go to waste. He pointed out that the CIA has recently shared information on Telegram, informing Russians about how they can contact the CIA through the dark web.
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Burns didn’t talk about a trip he took to Ukraine recently, where he had meetings with intelligence counterparts and President Volodymyr Zelensky. The visit happened before Prigozhin’s insurrection took place.
During his speech, the spy chief also discussed China, referring to it as the only country that possesses the intention and the growing economic, diplomatic, military, and technological capabilities to reshape the international order.
Burns expressed concern about President Xi Jinping’s increasing repression within China and his assertive behavior on the international stage. He also mentioned that the CIA has set up a dedicated mission center specifically focused on China and has significantly increased the portion of their budget allocated to activities related to China.