The US spy chief reportedly met with Ukraine’s president and vowed continued “intelligence sharing”
CIA Director William Burns made an unannounced stop in Ukraine in order to pass intelligence to the country’s military and hold discussions with President Vladimir Zelensky, where he reiterated Washington’s commitments to back Kiev for the long-haul, according to CNN.
The agency head visited the war-torn nation earlier this month, the outlet reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed US official.
“While there, he reinforced the US commitment to provide support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, including continued intelligence sharing,” the official said, offering no other details about the trip.
Burns last visited Ukraine at the beginning of the year, before Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, meeting with officials in Kiev to discuss the then-impending military action.
Those trips highlight an ongoing intel-sharing relationship between the United States and Ukraine, with Virginia Senator Mark Warner – who heads the Senate’s Intelligence Committee – claiming last month that such cooperation has helped Kiev’s troops make “great gains” on the battlefield. He added that both American and British intelligence officers are “working with the Ukrainians,” and went on to hail the “the strength of our combined military intel.”
The report of Burns’ new trip to Kiev comes amid growing speculation by Western officials that Moscow could deploy a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Burns, however, has thrown cold water on those predictions, telling CBS in early October that while he takes the risk of nuclear conflict “very seriously,” the “imminent threat of using tactical nuclear weapons” remains low.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin has not openly threatened the use of the bomb, in a recent speech he declared that his country would use all means necessary to defend its people and territory, prompting much conjecture among Western officials and media pundits.
In the meantime, Russian officials, including Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, have been accusing Kiev of preparing a false-flag attack with the use of a ‘dirty bomb’, a device combining conventional explosives with radioactive material. Ukraine has categorically denied Moscow’s claims.