Ukrainian MP responds to China’s 12-point plan to end the war with Russia
Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik responds to China’s proposal to end the war with Russia.
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency William Burns said in an interview aired Sunday that he warned Russia’s spy chief against using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, while the Kremlin also reportedly is helping Iran bolster its weapons program.
“The conversation that I had with Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s external intelligence service, was pretty dispiriting,” Burns said in an interview aired on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “My goal was not to talk about negotiations, that’s something that Ukrainians are going to need to take up with the Russians when they see fit.”
“It was more than anything else, what the President asked me to do, which was to make clear to Naryshkin and through him to President Putin, the serious consequences should Russia ever choose to use a nuclear weapon of any kind as well,” he said. “And I think Naryshkin understood the seriousness of that issue and I think President Putin has understood it as well. I think it’s also been very valuable that the Chinese leadership, that Prime Minister Modi in India have also made clear their opposition to any use of nuclear weapons.”
CBS host Margaret Brennan asked, “And you made clear to him that a nuclear weapon of any kind, a tactical nuke on the battlefield, would be treated by the United States with the utmost severity?”
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CIA Director William Burns said he warned Russia’ spy chief against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“Absolutely, absolutely. And we’ve continued to make that very clear. And I think that direct message is going to continue to be important, as are the messages that come from other world leaders, whether it’s President Xi or anyone else,” the CIA director responded.
“There was a very defiant attitude on the part of Mr. Naryshkin as well, a sense of cockiness and hubris,” he added of his talks with Naryshkin. “You know, a sense, I think, reflecting Putin’s own view, his own belief today that he can make time work for him, that he believes he can grind down the Ukrainians that he can wear down our European allies, that political fatigue will eventually set in. And in my experience, Putin’s view of Americans, of us, has been that we have attention deficit disorder, and we’ll move on to some other issue eventually.”
“And so Putin, in many ways, I think, believes today that he cannot win for a while, but he can’t afford to lose. I mean, that’s his conviction. So instead of looking for ways to either back down or find a famous off-ramp, you know, what Putin has done is double down. At each instance notwithstanding, you know, what is by any objective measure a strategic failure so far for Russia,” he said.
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Russian Foreign Intelligence Service SVR RF Chief Sergey Naryshkin reportedly held a very “defiant” attitude in talks with CIA Director William Burns. (Contributor/Getty Images)
Asked if Beijing benefits from having the West distracted and involved in a prolonged conflict in Europe, Burns said, “there’s no foreign leader who’s watched more carefully Vladimir Putin’s experience in Ukraine, the evolution of the war, than Xi Jinping has.”
“And I think in many ways, he’s been unsettled and sobered by what he’s seen. I think he was surprised by the very poor military performance of the Russians. I think surprised also by the degree of Western solidarity and support of Ukraine,” he added.
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CIA director William Burns said Russian President Vladimir Putin does not consider losing the war in Ukraine an option. (ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)
While Burns expressed “serious concern” over China considering sending lethal equipment to Russia, the CIA director also spoke about the Russian and Iranian partnership. He said Iranians have already provided hundreds of armed drones to the Russians as well as ammunition for artillery and for tanks. In return, Russia is proposing to help the Iranians with their missile program and also at least considering the possibility of providing fighter aircraft to Iran – something Burns said creates added risk for Ukrainians and U.S. partners in the Middle East.
“To the best of our knowledge, we don’t believe that the Supreme Leader in Iran has yet made a decision to resume the weaponization program that we judge that they suspended or stopped at the end of 2003. But the other two legs of the stool, meaning enrichment programs, they’ve obviously advanced very far, you know, over the past couple of years,” he said.
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“They’ve advanced very far to the point where it would only be a matter of weeks before they can enrich to 90 percent, if they chose to cross that line,” Burns told Brennan. “And also in terms of their missile systems, their ability to deliver a nuclear weapon, once they developed it, has also been advancing as well. So the answer to your question is no, we don’t see evidence that they made a decision to resume that weaponization program. But the other dimensions of this challenge, I think, are growing at a worrisome pace too.”
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace.