Zelensky secretly meets CIA Burns over fears of military aid cut
The Ukrainian president doubles down on coordination with the US on military packages, especially following statements by Republicans on the war.
Citing US officials and insider sources, The Washington Post reported that CIA Director William Burns met in secret with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev last week to provide him with US intel regarding Russia's upcoming plans for the war in Ukraine.
Zelensky's only concern seemed to be how long the US will be gifting military packages, especially following the decision of the upcoming Republican majority in the House, who have voiced their opposition to the continuous military shipments to Ukraine.
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With that said, Burns did not assuage Zelensky's fears and did warn that military aid may be cut in the future and stressed that the upcoming next few months will be critical. However, that is the only information released by the CIA as they declined to disclose any details regarding the secretive meeting in Ukraine.
Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a "blank check", which comes after demands to track down the approximately $20 billion in military aid sent to Ukraine, amid a warning by Republicans of impending audits. The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where - as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.
Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to "hold our government accountable", as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to the Washington Post: "The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it's intended to go," adding: "In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies."
As many packages as time starts ticking
Just a few days ago, the Biden administration announced a new military aid package to Ukraine worth $2.5 billion, this time to include Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Stryker armored personnel carriers, sources reported on Thursday.
"This authorization, which is valued at up to $2.5 billion, is the Biden Administration’s thirtieth drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021. It contains hundreds of armored vehicles, critical support for Ukraine’s air defense and other important capabilities," a statement issued by the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The statement adds that the package includes 59 Bradley and 90 Stryker vehicles, 53 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPS), 350 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled vehicles (HMMVS); as well as a variety of artillery, anti-armor, and small arms munitions.
It also includes eight Avenger air defense systems and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) previously provided by the US.