CIA Director William Burns reportedly held a secret meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev last week to brief him on US intelligence that possibly forecasts Russia’s next plans in its special military operation.
Citing US officials and other people familiar with the matter, US media reported late Thursday that Burns briefed Zelensky on what the United States believes are Russia’s next military moves in Ukraine in the coming weeks and months.
Zelensky is reportedly primarily concerned about how long the United States is expected to provide military assistance to Ukraine after Republicans, who have been critical about continuing providing such aid, took over the House of Representatives after the November midterm elections.
Also of concern to the Ukrainian leader was the decreasing support among the US public for continued military aid. In fact, a December 2022 poll found that support among Republican-identifying Americans remain divided over whether the Biden White House should continue aid.
Burns warned Zelensky it is possible US military assistance may be difficult to acquire at some point in the future, underscoring that the next few weeks and months on the battlefield will be critical, the report said.
Sources familiar with the meeting relayed to the outlet that Zelensky and his aides felt as though the support of the Biden administration remained intact, and that already approved military aid would last through August at the latest.
The CIA allegedly declined to disclose details of Burns’ meeting with Zelensky last week.
Earlier on Thursday, the United States announced a new military assistance package for Ukraine with $2.5 billion worth of weapons and ammunition. The package includes munitions for NASAMS air defense systems and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). The package also includes dozens of Bradley and Stryker armored combat vehicles and eight Avengers air defense systems.
On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos said Russia may launch a new offensive in the coming weeks or months, underscoring that this period will be crucial in determining whether Ukraine will survive the conflict. Duda said the current military assistance sent to Ukraine is not enough, adding that more advanced tanks and missiles must also be provided.