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CIA Director Burns recently traveled to Ukraine to meet Zelenskiy – U.S. official


CIA Director William Burns gestures as he speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats in Washington, D.C., U.S., April 15, 2021. Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

CIA Director William Burns recently traveled in secret to Ukraine’s capital to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.

“Director Burns traveled to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian intelligence counterparts as well as President Zelenskiy and reinforced our continued support for Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression,” the U.S. official, who declined to be identified, said.

The official declined to say when the visit took place. The Washington Post, which first reported the visit, said it took place at the end of last week.

Burns briefed Zelenskiy on his expectations on Russia’s upcoming military plans, the newspaper said, adding he also acknowledged that at some point U.S. assistance would be harder to come by.

Zelensky and his senior intelligence officials discussed how long Ukraine could expect U.S. and Western assistance to continue after Republicans won a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm elections, the Washington Post reported, citing sources.

Zelenskiy and his aides came away from last week’s meeting with the impression that U.S. support for Kyiv remained strong, the newspaper said.

Western allies have pledged billions of dollars in weapons for Ukraine. Fearing winter will give Russian forces time to regroup and unleash a major attack, Ukraine is pushing for more assistance to combat Moscow’s invasion which began in February last year.

In his trip to Washington in December, Zelenskiy told the U.S. Congress that aid to Ukraine is an investment in democracy, and not charity, while pressing for continued American support.

The United States on Thursday announced a new package of military assistance for Ukraine it valued at up to $2.5 billion, including hundreds of armored vehicles and support for Ukraine’s air defense.