On November 2-3, William Burns, the head of the CIA, was in Moscow. He met with high-ranking officials of the Russian state security. Officially – to discuss bilateral relations. But CNN claims that Burns actually came to convey to the Kremlin Joe Biden’s concerns about the situation on the border with Ukraine. In Washington itself, they also cannot find a consensus: what does the movement of Russian troops along the western border mean?
The main reason for the recent visit of CIA Director William Burns to Moscow was the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. It is reported by CNN , citing sources.
Burns visited Russia on November 2-3 and met with the Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev . The press service of the Security Council reported that “the parties discussed Russian-American relations.”
However, according to CNN, US President Joe Biden sent the CIA director to Russia “to warn the Kremlin that the US is closely monitoring the Russian troop buildup on the border with Ukraine.” Washington, through the visit of the head of the intelligence department, tried to understand the motives of Moscow’s actions.
Sources of the TV channel said that after the trip, Burns spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky . The main purpose of the conversation is an attempt to defuse tensions between Moscow and Kiev. For the same purposes, on November 4, a high-ranking official of the US State Department was sent to Ukraine .
CNN claims that such vigorous actions by Washington through the CIA and the State Department underline the seriousness of the Biden administration’s attitude to the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border and the latest movements of Russian troops. At the same time, the interviewed experts disagree about Moscow’s motives. Some of them believe that Russia is preparing for a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, while others believe that the pulling together of army units is simply aimed at intimidating Kiev.
“This is definitely an unprecedented build-up of forces, and if Russia wants to invade Ukraine, it has the ability and ability to crush the Ukrainian military,” a senior State Department official told CNN. According to him, the military command of Russia in such a situation can give an order to start an invasion at any time, and no means of warning will help Kiev.
American and European diplomats also note that Washington is conducting an unprecedented information campaign to inform the whole world about the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. “ The presidential administration is very worried, I don’t remember that it happened in recent years. I would not underestimate this fact, they are doing large-scale work to raise awareness of the situation, ”the diplomat told CNN on condition of anonymity.
Another Foreign Service official noted that US concerns about relations between Moscow and Kiev are “very specific.” According to him, Washington’s reaction and the situation in general are now being carefully studied in European capitals, where the perception of the Russian threat differs.
At the same time, Washington itself is far from a consensus on Moscow’s intentions. According to CNN, the Pentagon said it saw no sign of the Kremlin preparing for a long and full-scale military operation. This, in particular, is indicated by the lack of logistical support near the border with Ukraine: the supply of food, fuel, and repair army units.
The same opinion was expressed by the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milli – he stressed that there were no signs of an “imminent offensive” of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, but nevertheless expressed concern about the movement of the army along the border.
The attention of the West to the Russian troops has been riveted since last week. Then Kiev announced the use of combat drones in the Donbass, there were extremely contradictory reports that the Ukrainian military had occupied the village of Staromaryevka, located on the contact line. Kiev’s anti-Russian rhetoric has intensified against the backdrop of the energy crisis in Ukraine: there is an obvious shortage of coal and gas in the country, more than half of the thermal power plants do not work, and some officials and deputies do not exclude rolling blackouts.
On November 2, the American publication Politico published satellite images, allegedly showing the pulling of Russian armed forces to the border with Ukraine. According to the newspaper, the elite 1st Guards Tank Army was sent to the area of ??the city of Yelnya, Smolensk Region. Many American media outlets have reprinted this information.
However, the Smolensk region borders on Belarus, not Ukraine. Yelnya is located 100 km from the Mogilev region of Belarus and more than 240 km from the border with Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry called the publications of American publications a “fake campaign” and an “information salvo”.
Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov stressed that such publications by Western media should not be paid attention, and the movement of Russian troops within its borders is exclusively the country’s internal affairs and does not pose any external threats. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, also denied statements about the pulling together of Russian tanks. The activity of the Russian army was not recorded by the Ukrainian border guards either.
Later, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that at the beginning of November on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as well as in the territories of the unrecognized LPR and DPR, a 90,000-strong Russian contingent is deployed – troops of the 8th and 20th armies of the Southern and Western military districts, forces and means of the Black Sea Fleet Of the Russian Federation, as well as several formations and units of the 4th, 6th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Armed Forces.
The United States has expressed concern about such data. The Russian Embassy in Washington, commenting on these statements, expressed bewilderment. “It is perplexing that the press services of the State Department and the Pentagon are concerned about the movement of Russian military forces on their own territory. Take a look in the mirror – American troops are moving irresponsibly around the world. They leave behind chaos, ”the diplomatic mission said.