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Vladimir Putin’s ‘failing’ war on Ukraine has exposed Russia’s ‘weakness’ | World | News


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Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is already a “failure” which has damaged his military enormously, not to mention Russia’s economy, the director of the CIA has said.

With his country’s “weaknesses” exposed, Putin’s “overblown ambitions” have left NATO “larger and stronger”, Bill Burns claimed.

In an essay written for the US-based Foreign Affairs website, Mr Burns offered a scathing assessment of the Russian President – and urged Ukraine to underscore the high cost of the ongoing conflict.

He explained: “One thing I have learned is that it is always a mistake to underestimate his fixation on controlling Ukraine and its choices.

“Without that control, he believes it is impossible for Russia to be a great power or for him to be a great Russian leader.”

Joe Biden-appointee Mr Burns said: “That tragic and brutish fixation has already brought shame to Russia and exposed its weaknesses, from its one-dimensional economy to its inflated military prowess to its corrupt political system.

“Putin’s invasion has also prompted breathtaking determination and resolve from the Ukrainian people. I have seen their courage firsthand on frequent wartime trips to Ukraine, punctuated by Russian air raids and vivid images of Ukrainian battlefield tenacity and ingenuity.”

He added: “Putin’s war has already been a failure for Russia on many levels.”

The original goal of “seizing and subjugating” Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, had proven to be “foolish and illusory”, Mr Burns suggested.

He continued: “His military has suffered immense damage. At least 315,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded, two-thirds of Russia’s prewar tank inventory has been destroyed, and Putin’s vaunted decades-long military modernisation program has been hollowed out.

“All this is a direct result of Ukrainian soldiers’ valour and skill, backed up by Western support.

Meanwhile, Russia’s economy is suffering long-term setbacks, and the country is sealing its fate as China’s economic vassal.

“Putin’s overblown ambitions have backfired in another way, too: they have prompted NATO to grow larger and stronger.”

As Russia stepped up its defence production, with key components from China, plus weaponry and munitions from Iran and North Korea, Putin “continued to bet that time is on his side”, and that he could “grind down Ukraine and wear down its Western supporters”, Mr Burns emphasised.

He added: “Ukraine’s challenge is to puncture Putin’s arrogance and demonstrate the high cost for Russia of continued conflict, not just by making progress on the frontlines but also by launching deeper strikes behind them and making steady gains in the Black Sea.

“In this environment, Putin might engage again in nuclear sabre-rattling, and it would be foolish to dismiss escalatory risks entirely. But it would be equally foolish to be unnecessarily intimidated by them.”

In a message to Mr Biden – and possibly election rival Donald Trump, who has suggested he would cut funding if he wins in November, Mr Burns warned: “For the United States to walk away from the conflict at this crucial moment and cut off support to Ukraine would be an own goal of historic proportions.”

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