WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director William Burns visited Kyiv last week to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a US official said Thursday, in the latest example of high-level contacts between the US and Ukraine.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the director’s classified schedule, said Burns emphasized Washington’s “continued support for Ukraine” in the war. Burns also met with Ukrainian intelligence officials.
The CIA director has briefed Zelensky repeatedly before and since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last February, passing on US intelligence findings about Moscow’s war plans and intentions.
The war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin is soon to enter its second year, having resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and with no clear resolution on the horizon. Washington is about to send another $2.5 billion in aid to Ukraine, including for the first time Stryker armored vehicles.
Burns’ meeting with Zelensky was first reported by The Washington Post.
The CIA director told PBS NewsHour last month that agency analysts predicted “a reduced tempo and fighting between the two militaries as winter sets in.”
“I don’t underestimate for a moment the burdens, the challenges, that this war poses for Ukrainians first and foremost, but for all of us who support Ukraine,” said Burns, a former US ambassador to Moscow. “But strategically, I think, in many ways, you know, Putin’s war has thus far been a failure for Russia.”