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CIA director: U.S. would make big mistake in history if it gives up support for Ukraine

U.S. Stand in Ukraine and Russia War

As plans for additional aid to Ukraine hit a wall in Congress, CIA Director William Burns said in a new assessment that Ukraine’s nearly two-year war against Russia means that if the United States abandons its support for Ukraine, it will be a self-imposed “historic” mistake.

Congress’s vote on a new $60 billion aid package to Ukraine has been linked to a bill to strengthen immigration controls at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, the details of the new immigration law remain unresolved, and the overall legislation is caught up in the politics of the 2024 presidential election, which casts doubt on whether the United States can continue to aid Ukraine. But Burns, in an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine on Tuesday (Jan. 30), said that if “serious opportunities for negotiations to end the war emerge,” “maintaining the flow of weapons will put Ukraine in a difficult position.”

“It provides an opportunity to ensure Ukraine’s long-term victory and Russia’s strategic defeat,” the CIA chief said.

“With less than 5 percent of the U.S. defense budget, it’s a relatively small investment with significant geopolitical implications,” he said. Political payback.”

He described Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 as “Putin’s folly.”

Burns said: “At least 315,000 Russian troops have been killed and wounded, two-thirds of Russia’s pre-war tank inventory has been destroyed, and Putin’s decades-long military modernization project has been emptied.”

However, Burns said Putin was unlikely to stop attacking neighboring Ukraine.

“It would always be a mistake to underestimate his obsession with controlling Ukraine,” Burns said. “He believed that without that kind of control, Russia could not become a great power, or he could not become a great leader of Russia.”

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Burns said that the war “is quietly eroding his power at home, but “he continues to bet that time is on his side and that he can wear down Ukraine and wear down Ukraine’s Western backers.”

He called on Ukraine to strike deeper into territory controlled by Russia.

“Ukraine’s challenge is to break Putin’s arrogance and demonstrate the high cost to Russia of not just making progress on the front lines but striking deeper behind enemy lines,” Burns said.

Meanwhile, on the front lines, Ukraine said on Tuesday that the Russian army used 35 drones and two missiles to attack many areas in Ukraine at night.

The Ukrainian Air Force said its air defense system destroyed 15 drones, including intercepting them over the regions of Nikolaev, Sumy, Cherkasy, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Kiev.

The Ukrainian Air Force said some of Russia’s attacks were focused on fuel and energy sector infrastructure.

Russia said on Monday that its air defense systems had thwarted 21 Ukrainian drone attacks.

Russian news agencies reported that Russian forces intercepted or destroyed Ukrainian drones over the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula and the Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga, and Tula regions in Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Monday that Ukraine’s defense war against Russia was at risk if Congress did not approve a new round of aid.

“Simply put, without it, everything the Ukrainians have achieved and everything we have helped them achieve is in jeopardy,” Blinken said in Washington with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a joint press conference.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg expressed confidence that the United States will continue to support Ukraine. He said it was in the United States’ interest to ensure that Russia did not win in Ukraine.

He also said that aid to Ukraine is a joint effort with NATO allies and is not considered a charity but an “investment in our own security.”

Belarus-Russia Alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday to discuss expanding the two countries’ alliance. Russia has already deployed some nuclear weapons on the territory of this neighboring country.

Putin emphasized that the “strategic partnership” between the two countries is part of the 25-year alliance agreement between the two countries, covering political, economic, and military relations between the two countries.

“It is important that, despite unprecedented foreign pressure, Russia and Belarus cooperate closely on the international stage and provide each other with unwavering support as true allies,” Putin said at the start of the talks in St. Petersburg, where senior officials from both countries said. Officials attended the meeting.

Lukashenko has ruled the former Soviet country with an iron fist for nearly three decades, relying on Russian subsidies and political support. Moscow’s support helped Lukashenko survive months of massive protests. The protests erupted after he was re-elected in the 2020 elections, a vote that the opposition and the West said was rigged.

In February 2022, Lukashenko allowed the Kremlin to use Belarusian territory to send troops to invade Ukraine.

Hungary-Ukraine talks

Hungary said on Monday it was ready to reach a compromise that would allow the EU’s proposed $54 billion aid package for Ukraine to be funded from the EU budget ahead of an emergency summit on Thursday.

Since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine in February 2022, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal critic of the EU’s financial and military support for Kiev and has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

If Hungary does not agree to the package, EU leaders will propose an alternative plan involving an agreement between the 26 member states and Ukraine that would also prevent Budapest from receiving relevant EU funds.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev to discuss aid and try to resolve Hungary’s problems in Ukraine’s western Transcarpathia region ethnic communities’ right to learn in their mother tongue.

Hungary “expects members of the ethnic Hungarian community to regain the rights that existed in 2015,” the official said, adding, “We still have a long way to go, but we on the Hungarian side are ready to do the work. “

Kuleba said that he believed that the Hungarian minority issue has been “fundamentally solved,” but a joint committee will be established to study how Kyiv can meet further demands from Budapest regarding the Hungarian ethnic community in Ukraine and submit them to the respective governments within 10 days of these findings.

This is Szijjarto’s first visit to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the only formal bilateral meeting between officials from the two countries in the past two years.

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