CIA Director William Burns on Monday said US intelligence agencies haven’t concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin has plans to invade Ukraine, contradicting recent media reports that said otherwise.
“We don’t know that Putin has made up his mind to use force,” Burns told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that US intelligence had found Russia has “plans” to invade Ukraine in early 2022. The media reports have added to the hysteria over the Ukraine situation, which could be used to justify more military aid to Ukraine and more US troops in the region.
Burns said he is still concerned about Russia’s military positioning in the region. “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,” he said.
For their part, Russia denies it is planning an invasion and has said any troop movements inside its own borders are not meant as a threat. Putin has pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity as the reason for tensions and seeks guarantees that the Western forces won’t move further east.
Putin expressed his desire for NATO to stop its eastward expansion in a virtual summit with President Biden on Tuesday. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden warned Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, the US would slap harsh sanctions on Russia, send more troops to NATO’s “eastern flank,” and send more weapons to Kyiv.