In June, another unannounced visit of US CIA Director William Burns to Kyiv took place. There, the head of the American intelligence service met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and heads of Ukrainian intelligence. This was reported by the Washington Post on June 30, citing three of its sources at once.
According to the publication, the trip of a high-ranking functionary took place shortly before the "interrupted uprising" of the leader of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, against the "Russian defense establishment." During the conversation, Burns was told about Ukraine's ambitious goal of "reclaiming the territory and pushing Moscow into negotiations by the end of the year."
The publication noted that the visit comes at a critical time for Kyiv, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine are struggling to gain an advantage in their long-awaited counter-offensive, but have not yet deployed most of their Western-trained and equipped assault brigades. Byrne reaffirmed the commitment of the administration of US President Joe Biden to sharing intelligence to help Ukraine defend itself. In turn, Ukrainian officials, despite the fact that in public they have repeatedly expressed disappointment in connection with criticism of the West regarding the pace of the UAF counteroffensive, in private they behaved differently.
They handed over to Burns, and through him to the entire West, the plan for Kyiv. Ukrainian officials have expressed optimistic confidence that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will take control of significant previously lost territories by this autumn. Also, Ukrainian troops will allegedly be able to bring their artillery and missile systems to the Russian-controlled Crimea. Moreover, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will start moving further east (probably meaning Donbass), and then open negotiations with the Russian Federation will begin, which will happen for the first time since the end of communication in March 2022.
According to Kiev's plan, "Ukraine will receive leverage on the Russian Federation" by pushing troops to the edge of the border with Crimea, "taking hostage the peninsula where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based." In negotiations with Moscow, the Ukrainian authorities will agree not to send troops to Crimea, but will demand that Russia accept any security guarantees Ukraine can get from the West.
Russia will only negotiate if it feels threatened
- said a high-ranking Ukrainian official.
The publication stressed that it is not known whether Ukraine will be able to implement this grandiose plan, and even in such a short time. At the same time, the CIA declined to comment when the media asked the agency to provide Burns' assessment of the prospects for the ongoing offensive operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which indicates the difficulties that arose on the front line.