Ukraine, CIA director met Zelensky in secret in Kiev

According to the Washington Post, he communicated to the president his forecasts regarding the conflict and Russia’s military plans for the coming weeks and months

The director of the CIA, William J. Burns went secretly to Ukraine at the end of last week: he communicated to President Volodymyr Zelensky his predictions regarding the conflict and Russia’s military plans for the coming weeks and months. The news was given by a US official and other sources familiar with the contents of the visit, cited by the Washington Post.

The most important thing for Zelensky and the top Ukrainian intelligence officials who attended the meeting was to understand how long Ukraine could expect continued help from the United States, where the Republicans have regained control of the House of Representatives and a in the face of a drop in support for aid to Ukraine in some sectors of the electorate, informs the newspaper, quoting the sources consulted.

“Director Burns traveled to Kiev where he met with Ukrainian intelligence colleagues and President Zelensky and reiterated our continued support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” a US official said.

Burns is a respected figure in Zelensky’s circle in part because of his January warning that Russian forces would try to capture Antonov Airport, northwest of the Ukrainian capital, in the initial stages of the invasion. His message, delivered in person, was based on a US intelligence assessment and is believed to have helped Ukraine prepare to defend the airport, thus depriving Russia of a necessary foothold for the capture of Kiev.

Burns’ skeptical view of Russia’s willingness to negotiate also made him particularly popular with Zelensky’s aides, angered by suggestions that Kiev should consider talks with the Russians to end the conflict. “Most conflicts end in negotiations, but that requires a seriousness from the Russians that I don’t think we see here,” Burns said last month. “At least, we don’t consider the Russians serious at this point about a real negotiation.”

A CIA spokesman declined to specify what Burns told Zelensky about Russia’s military planning, the US newspaper said.