CIA director meets with Zelenskyy as US sends more aid to Ukraine

CIA Director William Burns recently traveled to Kyiv to meet with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior intelligence officials, a US official confirmed to CBS News.

Burns “reiterated our continued support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The Washington Post first reported on the secret trip. The CIA does not comment on the director’s schedule or travels.

The meeting comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark and Ukrainian leaders renew themselves appeals for Western allies to send modern battle tanks and other heavy weapons. Ukrainian forces are expected to launch a major counter-offensive against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine in the spring, where the two countries are locked in a brutal land war.

Burns, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Russia, was previously dispatched by the Biden administration to share Western intelligence with Ukrainian counterparts. Before the war started, so did Burns traveled to Moscow to warn Russian President Vladimir Putin of an attack.

In a virtual appearance at the annual World Economic Forum this week, Zelenskyy urged Western allies to send his military weapons faster.

“Tragedy overtakes life,” he said.

Some US Republicans – who now control the House of Representatives – have issued statements skeptical about continued funding for Ukraine. Before the midterm electionsHouse Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the House would not sign a “blank check for Ukraine,” signaling that conditions on the funding could be put in place soon.

On Thursday the The US has pledged another $2.5 billion to help Ukraine, including more armored vehicles, anti-aircraft missiles and thousands of artillery shells, according to a list released by the Pentagon. The package does not include tanks.

Since the start of the Biden administration, the US has pledged more than $27.5 billion in aid to Ukraine, according to the State Department.

“Russia alone could end this war today,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement. “Until then, we will remain united with Ukraine for as long as necessary.”

David Martin and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting. CIA director meets with Zelenskyy as US sends more aid to Ukraine

Rick Schindler

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