CIA Director: Next 6 months will be 'critical' in Ukraine
The CIA Director claims Western intelligence showed that Russia was not interested in holding peace talks.
CIA Director William Burns considered on Thursday that the next six months would be "critical" in the war in Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin "betting right now that he can make time work for him."
During a moderated discussion at Georgetown University, Burns said Putin believes that he can "grind down" Ukraine, while political fatigue will grip Europe and the United States will become distracted.
"The key is going to be on the battlefield in the next six months, it seems to us," Burns indicated.
"Puncturing Putin's hubris, making clear that he's not only not going to be able to advance further in Ukraine, but as every month goes by, he runs a greater and greater risk of losing the territory that he's illegally seized from Ukraine so far," he claimed, stressing that "this next period, I think, is going to be absolutely crucial."
The CIA Director insisted Western intelligence showed that Russia was not interested in holding peace talks, saying that "we do not assess that Putin is serious about negotiations, for all that you hear sometimes about that."
"Especially concerning," Burns described the deepening military ties between Russia and Iran.
"I do think as we look ahead to 2023 --- and in my most recent trip, this was reinforced --- the Middle East is going to reemerge as a particularly complicated set of challenges for American policymakers as well," the CIA chief pointed out.
Read more: Kremlin denies claims that CIA chief offered Russia 20% of Ukraine
China remains "biggest geopolitical challenge"
He indicated that China remains the "biggest geopolitical challenge" that the US faces in the decades ahead, describing Washington's competition with Beijing as "unique".
"Competition with China is unique in its scale, and that it really, you know, unfolds over just about every domain, not just military, and ideological, but economic, technological, everything from cyberspace, to space itself as well. It's a global competition in ways that could be even more intense than competition with the Soviets was," he said.
CIA Director Burns: “China remains the biggest geopolitical challenge the U.S. faces in the decades ahead, and the biggest priority for CIA.”— Olivia Gazis (@Olivia_Gazis) February 2, 2023
Says new technologies are the “main arena”for competition with China & the “main determinant of our future as an intelligence service” pic.twitter.com/1nNAbS38dP
Burns claimed US intelligence showed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had instructed the People's Liberation Army to be prepared to conduct an alleged "military invasion" of Taiwan by 2027.
"Now, that does not mean that he's decided to conduct an invasion in 2027 or any other year, but it's a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition," he made clear, adding, "Our assessment at CIA is that I wouldn't underestimate President Xi's ambitions with regard to Taiwan."
Elsewhere, Burns believed that Xi was likely "surprised and unsettled" and trying to draw lessons from what he called the "very poor performance" of the Russian military and its weapons systems in Ukraine.
Read more: Pentagon says tracking Chinese spy balloon over US