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CIA chief: Putin is angry and frustrated

Dark weeks are ahead in the Ukraine war, says CIA director William Burns. Putin has miscalculated and will probably try to “crush the Ukrainian military regardless of civilian casualties”.

The head of the US foreign intelligence service CIA, William Burns, predicts dark weeks in the Ukraine war. “I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now,” Burns said at a hearing in the US Congress, looking at the Russian president. “He will probably go one step further and try to crush the Ukrainian military without regard for civilian casualties.” The next few weeks would probably be “ugly” and the fighting in the cities even worse than before.

A sustainable solution for Putin is not in sight, said the CIA chief. It is not foreseeable how the Kremlin chief in Ukraine could maintain a puppet regime or a pro-Russian leadership, which he is trying to install against the massive resistance of the Ukrainian population. It was precisely Putin’s aggression during the annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 that created the strong feeling of national independence and sovereignty in Ukraine that he faces today.

US President Joe Biden made a similar statement. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin,” said the Democrat in a speech at the White House. “He may be able to take a city, but he will never be able to hold the country.” Biden predicted that Ukrainians would defend their freedom, their democracy and their lives. “They won’t let Putin just take what he wants.” In the end, Russia will emerge weakened from the war in Ukraine – and the rest of the world will be strengthened.

At the same time, Biden lamented the enormous suffering and unnecessary loss of life. “But Putin seems determined to continue on his murderous path – whatever the cost.”

CIA chief: Putin has completely miscalculated

For Putin, the attack on Ukraine is a matter of deep personal conviction. “He’s had an explosive mix of grief and ambition for many years,” Burns said. “He has created a system where his own circle of advisors is becoming ever narrower. Covid has narrowed that circle even further. And it’s a system where having someone question or challenge their judgment isn’t proving career-enhancing.”

The head of the secret service argued that the Russian president made a complete miscalculation in his decision to attack Ukraine. Putin thought Ukraine was weak and easily intimidated. On the other hand, Putin probably suspected that Europeans, especially the French and Germans, were distracted and risk-averse by the elections in France and the change in leadership in Germany. “Third, he believed he had made his economy sanction-proof.”

In addition, the Kremlin chief was confident that he had modernized his military and that it was capable of achieving a quick victory at minimal cost. All of these assessments turned out to be wrong.

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