CIA Director Raises Concerns In New Meeting With Putin

( In a rare direct discussion, William Burns, the director of the CIA, expressed concerns to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. has about Russia’s buildup of military personnel at its border with Ukraine.

According to a source who spoke with CNN, Burns said the U.S. has “serious concerns” about what Russia is doing at the border. He reportedly told Putin:

“It would be foolish for us not to be considering the possibility of an invasion or incursion.”

And as Dimitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Putin, confirmed on Monday to CNN:

“Yes, such a conversation took place via telephone.”

Putin’s spokesperson added the two leaders discussed “bilateral relations, the crisis situation in the diplomatic practice and an exchange on views on regional conflicts. Of course, cybersecurity issues were also mentioned.”

To this point, Ukraine has downplayed the additional military presence that Russia has deployed to their border. Just last week, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that Russia has a long history of “transferring and accumulating military units for the purpose of maintaining tension in the region and political pressure on neighboring countries.”

According to two senior officials in the U.S., the Biden administration is considerably worried following the fact that images from satellites showed some irregular movements by Russian tanks, artillery and troops.

On Monday, John Kirby, the press secretary for the Pentagon, held a press briefing at which he called that buildup of military “concerning.” He also confirmed the United States is watching that matter “closely.”

As Kirby explained:

“I’m not going to get into intelligence assessments from the podium, particularly in quantifying this. We continue to see concerning movements by the Russian military in their western areas and around Ukraine. We continue to call on them to be clear about what their intentions are, what they’re actually doing and to abide by the Minsk agreements and to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”

This whole situation was emphasized by Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state. On Wednesday, he said the U.S. is “concerned by reports of unusual Russian military activity.” The country is also worried that Russia could be “attempting to rehash” the invasion of Ukraine that happened back in 2014.

Blinken gave those comments while he was next to Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, at the State Department. The secretary of state said:

“Our concern is that Russia may make a serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014, when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked,” referring to when Russia invaded Crimea.

“So, the playbook that we’ve seen in the past was to claim some provocation as a rationale for doing what it, what it intended and planned to do. All which is why we’re looking at this very carefully.”

Blinken also reiterated that the U.S. was committed to Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, labeling it “ironclad.”