CIA Director William Burns said the agency still has no evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of using nuclear weapons, but added that it is “very difficult to say” whether Putin is bluffing.
In an exclusive interview with the CBS Evening News that aired Tuesday, Burns noted that the CIA takes Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war seriously, despite the lack of evidence of actual preparation.
“Well, given what’s at stake, we have to take his brand of threats very seriously… We see no practical evidence in the US intelligence community today that he’s nearing actual deployment, that there’s an imminent threat of use.” tactical weapons,” Burns said when asked if there were any signs that Putin was preparing to use nuclear weapons.
Burns was later asked if he believed Putin was bluffing when he threatened to use nuclear weapons “when our country’s territorial integrity is threatened.” In response, the CIA director said it was “very difficult to tell at this point,” but they will continue to monitor Russia for any signs of preparation.
Burns’ interview follows former CIA case officer Robert Baer’s statement Tuesday that he believes the chances of Putin turning to nuclear weapons are increasing as Ukraine continues to gain ground amid its counter-offensives. In Kharkiv, for example, only 6% of the territory is occupied by Russian forces, according to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
“The likelihood that he will use nuclear weapons — at least tactical nuclear weapons — is increasing by the day,” Baer told CNN.
In addition to using nuclear weapons, Baer said Putin is unlikely to withdraw his troops or negotiate with Ukraine to end the war.
Burns and Baer’s comments come days after Putin announced the partial mobilization of about 300,000 reservists to bolster Moscow’s troops in Ukraine. During the announcement, Putin also threatened to use “all available means” in Ukraine and groundlessly accused the West of provoking him with nuclear blackmail.
Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia has nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads, 1,500 of which are deployed.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/cia-sees-no-practical-evidence-putin-will-use-nuclear-weapons-taking-threats-very-seriously-1838871?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution CIA sees no “practical evidence” that Putin will use nuclear weapons but takes threats “very seriously”.