CIA Director William Burns said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “convinced” that “doubling down further will allow him to make progress” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“He’s in a state of mind that he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” Burns said in remarks. FinancialTimes event in Washington, DC, according to Reuters.
According to CBS News, the CIA director also said the intelligence community had seen no “practical evidence at this stage of Russian planning for deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” but said added that “we cannot take these possibilities lightly.”
In recent days, Russia has stepped up its offensive in Mariupol as part of efforts to take the port city ahead of VE Day on May 9, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Friday. Western intelligence reports have suggested that Putin may use Victory Day, his annual commemoration of the end of World War II, to officially declare war on Ukraine. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said last week that Russia could declare war on “world Nazis” at the commemoration.
However, Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square has been prepared to be scaled back in recent days.
British defense officials also said last month that Russia “likely wants to demonstrate significant military gains” before the holidays.
As fighting continued in Mariupol, Russia claimed the city had been completely occupied, although fighting continued at the Azovstal steelworks. On Saturday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Telegram post on Saturday that all women and children had been evacuated from the factory.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.
According to one estimate, the Russian military offensive is costing the country around $900 million a day. Sean Spoonts, editor of SOFREP, a media outlet focused on military news, said Newsweek that the cost of arms, ammunition, payment of soldiers and repair of damaged equipment be factored into the projection. This estimate does not even take into account the economic costs that Russia has faced as a result of sanctions from Western countries.
speaking to the FinancialTimes event, Burns noted that China was also monitoring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the challenges and costs Russia faced as it considered its own actions in Taiwan.
“These are things that they weigh very carefully,” Burns said, according to Reuters. “I don’t think for a minute that it has eroded Beijing’s resolve over time to take over Taiwan… But I think it’s something that affects their reckoning on how and when they go about it.”