At a Sept. 8 conference in Washington D.C. hosted by Billington Cybersecurity, CIA director William Burns minced no words, RadarOnline.com has learned.
"It's hard to see the record of the war - [Vladimir] Putin's record - as anything other than a failure, so far," he said. “Russia is going to pay a very heavy price. Not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed, but there is going to be long-term damage done to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians as a result of this."
Burns recalled being sent to Moscow last November by Biden to speak with Putin. He exited even more troubled after the meeting as the Russian leader seemed to have already made up his mind about invading Ukraine.
Burns' remarks came a day after Putin told a separate economic forum in Vladivostok Sept. 7 that it was Ukraine's actions in the Moscow-backed separatist regions in the eastern part of the neighboring country that forced his hand. "It wasn't us who started the military action, we are trying to put an end to it," Putin stated.
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At the six-and-a-half month point in the Russia-Ukraine war, Burns sees signs of Ukraine counteroffensives strengthening. "Putin's bet, I think, is that he's going to be tougher than the Ukrainians and the Europeans and the Americans," Burns said.
"Putin's view is always that we have attention deficit disorder, and we'll get distracted,” he continued. “He is as wrong about that bet as he was profoundly wrong in his assumptions going back to last February about the Ukrainian will to resist and the will of the West, of the United States and all of our partners to support the Ukrainians.”
Burns remarks follow similar sentiments expressed by U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines at a Department of Commerce conference in late June. Haines suggested Russian ground forces have been degraded to the point that “it will take them years to get back to where they were.”