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CIA Director warns Ukraine can lose war in 2024 without US aid

William Burns warned American lawmakers that without US aid, more Ukrainian cities could become like Avdiivka, recently destroyed and occupied by Russians, and Ukraine could lose this year.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Willian Burns
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Willian Burns Source: CIA
CIA Director warns Ukraine can lose war in 2024 without US aid

CIA Director William Burns delivered a stark warning to US lawmakers on 18 April, stating that Ukraine could lose the war against Russia by the end of 2024 if Congress fails to approve crucial military assistance stalled for months, according to Politico.

This warning comes as Ukraine expects a potential Russian offensive this summer and faces a lack of ammunition and missiles to defend against Russian aggression. The US military aid to Ukraine has been delayed more than six months.

Speaking at an event at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Burns emphasized the importance of passing the supplemental aid bill that would dedicate billions to Ukraine’s war efforts.

With the boost from US military assistance, Burns argues that Ukraine is “entirely capable of holding their own through 2024 and puncturing Putin’s arrogant view that time is on his side,” Politico reports.

However, Burns cautioned that if the delayed aid doesn’t make it through Congress,

There is a very real risk that the Ukrainians could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024, or at least put Putin in a position where he could essentially dictate the terms of a political settlement,” according to Politico.

Burns did not elaborate on his definition of “lose,” but a source familiar with Western intelligence noted to CNN that if the package doesn’t pass, US officials still believe Russia is unlikely to overrun Ukraine from coast to coast. However, Russia could retake significant additional territory and effectively freeze the battlelines in place, similar to what happened after Moscow annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, which would still be deemed “a loss” for Ukraine.

According to CNN, Burns further expressed concern that more Ukrainian cities like Avdiivka, recently lost to Russian advances in eastern Ukraine, could face similar fates without supplemental assistance. 

“They were overwhelmed, and it wasn’t for lack of bravery or determination on their part, and my worry is that we’re going to see more Avdiivkas in the future without supplemental assistance,” Burns said.

Earlier, House Speaker Mike Johnson confirmed his commitment to advancing a series of foreign aid bills, including funding for Ukraine. He scheduled a vote on 20 April despite facing pressure from hardline fellow Republicans. 

President Biden also supported Speaker Johnson’s separate bills that propose additional funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. 

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