WASHINGTON D.C.: US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns has said that the armed mutiny by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had shown the corrosive effect on Russia of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“It is striking that Prigozhin preceded his actions with a scathing indictment of the Kremlin’s mendacious rationale for the invasion of Ukraine and of the Russian military leadership’s conduct of the war,” Burns, a former US ambassador to Moscow, said in a lecture to Britain’s Ditchley Foundation in Oxfordshire, England.
“The impact of those words and those actions will play out for some time — a vivid reminder of the corrosive effect of Putin’s war on his own society and his own regime.”
Burns cast the mutiny as an “armed challenge to the Russian state” but said it was an “internal Russian affair in which the United States has had and will have no part.”
Burns also said on Saturday that disaffection in Russia with the war in Ukraine was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recruit spies — and that his agency was not letting it go to waste.
“Disaffection with the war will continue to gnaw away at the Russian leadership beneath the steady diet of state propaganda and practiced repression,” Burns, a former US ambassador to Moscow, said in a lecture to Britain’s Ditchley Foundation in Oxfordshire, England.
“That disaffection creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us at CIA — at our core a human intelligence service. We’re not letting it go to waste.”
Burns recently traveled to Ukraine where he met with intelligence counterparts and President Volodymyr Zelensky, a US official confirmed to AFP Friday.
The trip — not reported at the time — comes as Kyiv’s brigades pursue a counteroffensive in their nation’s east and south against Russian forces, launched earlier this month after weeks of anticipation.
During his trip Burns reaffirmed “the US commitment to sharing intelligence to help Ukraine defend against Russian aggression,” the US official said.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported the visit, Ukrainian officials shared plans to claw back Russian-occupied territory and begin ceasefire negotiations by the end of the year.
Burns “traveled to Ukraine as he has done regularly since the beginning of Russia’s recent aggression more than a year ago,” the US official said. The Post reported that the visit occurred in June.
The trip took place before the 24-hour insurrection by the leader of the Wagner private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to the official.
The mutiny, which was widely seen as the biggest threat to Kremlin authority in decades, “was not a topic of discussion,” the official added.
Please visit our website London Institute of Peace Research for latest peace news