“Defending freedom will pay a price”

CIA Director Bill Burns listens during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in February 2021.
CIA Director Bill Burns listens during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in February 2021. (Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call / Pool / Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “determined to dominate and control Ukraine” and wage war on a series of assumptions that lead him to believe that Russia will have a favorable outcome, CIA Director Bill Burns testified Tuesday. .

Putin believes in several assumptions about the use of force, including the belief that Ukraine is weak and vulnerable to threats. Second, Putin believes that Europeans, especially the French and Germans, are distracted and risk averse.

Third, he believes he has “resisted sanctions” on his economy and created a large reserve of foreign currency.

And fourth, he was confident that he had modernized his army and that they were capable of winning a decisive victory quickly with minimal cost.

“He was proven wrong on every count,” Burns said.

Asked what would happen for Putin to change his calculus in Ukraine, Burns offered a sober assessment, saying that “it’s a matter of deeply personal convictions for him.”

Mr. Putin has “existed in a combustible combination of grievances and ambitions for many years”, he said, adding that the Russian president had created a system in which his own circle of advisers he “gets narrower and narrower”.

Burns said during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, the global Covid-19 pandemic has also made his circle smaller.

Burns then predicted an “ugly next few weeks” with “little civilian casualties”, given Russia’s unlikely ability to establish a puppet regime or pro-Russian leadership in the face of opposition from Russia. Ukrainian people.

“Ukrainians will continue to fight back fiercely and effectively,” he added.

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