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Not giving billions of dollars to Kiev would be ‘historic mistake’ – CIA chief

Allocating more aid could enable Ukraine to launch a new counteroffensive next year, William Burns told the US Senate

The US is standing at “a profoundly important crossroads” in terms of whether to continue funding Ukraine’s war effort against Russia, according to CIA Director William Burns.

With a White House request to appropriate over $60 billion in additional aid for Kiev stalling in the US House, events can go down two paths, the intelligence chief told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Monday.

In one scenario, lawmakers could release the money and allow for the “real possibility of cementing a strategic success for Ukraine and a strategic loss for” Russia, he claimed, citing a CIA assessment.

“With supplemental assistance, Ukraine can hold its own on the front lines through 2024,” Burns said. The money would allow Kiev to conduct more “deep penetration strikes in Crimea,” and continue targeting the Russian Black Sea fleet. In early 2025, it “could regain the offensive initiative” and start regaining ground.

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The other scenario leads to a “much grimmer future,” Burns warned, with Ukraine losing more battles like the one for the town of Avdeevka in Donbass. The heavily fortified position within striking range of Donetsk had been held by Kiev’s troops since 2014, but Russia liberated it in mid-February. The CIA chief said he was told during his visit to Kiev earlier this year that the Ukrainians “ran out of ammunition” and were forced to retreat.

Without aid, Ukraine is facing “more Avdeevkas” in 2024, resulting in a “probably significant” loss of territory, he said. Burns added: “That, it seems to me, would be a massive and historic mistake for the United States.”

He claimed that Russia’s goal was to “subjugate” Ukraine, while the US wanted it to be a “strong sovereign independent country” anchored in Western institutions.


READ MORE: Russia not looking for direct clash with West – US spies

Moscow’s stated goals in the conflict are to ensure Ukraine’s military neutrality, curb the influence of radical nationalists on Kiev’s policies, and stop its discrimination against ethnic Russians. It considers the current government to be a pawn of the US and its allies, who are using Ukraine to contain and damage Russia. Ukrainian soldiers are being sacrificed as “cannon fodder” for Western interests, Russian officials have said.

 

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