November 27, 2022

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The CIA director met with Zelensky in Kyiv as Russian missiles targeted the capital

Suspension

He met CIA Director William J. Burns with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Kyiv, on Tuesday, renewed US support for the country on the same day that Russian missiles struck DC f Send the population fleeing for cover.

The visit comes at the moment of Ukraine’s victory, days after the arrival of its forces Liberate the city of Kherson Zelensky declared a turning point in the war. But it was also a moment of extraordinary tension and uncertainty It appears that a Russian missile has landed in Polandwhich raises the question of how NATO would respond to a possible attack on a member state.

Burns, who has been frequently sent by President Biden to talk with Russian and Ukrainian leaders, also met with his Ukrainian intelligence counterparts and discussed a US warning he made Monday to the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service “not to use nuclear weapons” in the war on Ukraine, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity. For his identity to describe sensitive discussions.

Burns met with the Russian official, the director of the SVR Sergey Naryshkinin the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Two dead in Poland as the Ukrainian war spreads to NATO territory

The official said Burns in Kyiv “reinforced the United States’ commitment to providing support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.” The official indicated that the director was safely inside the US embassy during the missile strikes.

There was no indication Russian attacks It was supposed to coincide with Burns’ visit. Russian media exposed his visit to Ankara, in what has become routine practice to publicize Russian officials’ meetings with the CIA director, who usually keeps his travel schedule private.

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Burns, a veteran diplomat and former ambassador to Russia, went to Moscow last November She met with senior Kremlin officials and spoke on the phone with President Vladimir Putin. he is I carried a message from Biden to Putin and warned The Russian president that if he invades Ukraine, the United States will impose dire consequences.

Burns warned that officials should be wary of Putin’s threats to use tactical nuclear weapons. “We have to take it seriously [any] Kind of threats given all that’s at stake,” Burns said Interview With CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell in late September. “And you know, the rhetoric that he and other top Russian leaders used was reckless and deeply irresponsible.”

Russian military leaders’ talk of a nuclear attack raises US calculations

Burns added that US intelligence agencies had not yet seen “any empirical evidence” that Putin was close to using nuclear weapons. This has been the case over the course of the war, with Putin making threats that officials say are not reflected in signs that Russia is deploying the equipment and personnel needed to use such weapons on the battlefield.

Tuesday’s missile strikes on Kyiv followed a two-week lull that many residents initially ignored. When the explosions resounded throughout the city, people took refuge in basements and corridors.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that “Russian aircraft” fired the missiles, noting that “throughout the duration of this campaign, Russia has used a mix of capabilities,” including airborne, land-based and sea-launched missiles, to target cities and missiles. civil infrastructure.

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On Monday, Zelensky visited Kherson, the only regional capital that Russia captured after its February invasion. It was announced to hundreds of people gathered in the central square of the city The liberation marked the “beginning of the end of the war” and he vowed that Ukrainian forces would drive all of Russia out of the country.

Liz Slay in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Karon Demirjian contributed to this report.