Ukraine ‘could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024’, warns CIA Director William Burns

  • CIA Director William Burns said Ukraine may lose by the end of the year
  • The invaded nation desperately needs new aid packages to fight Russia 
  • But a $60bn package is being held up in the US’ House of Representatives 

Ukraine may lose its bloody war against Russia by the end of the year if it doesn’t get the support it needs, the director of the CIA has warned. 

William Burns admitted yesterday that without proper support from the West, Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin may be ‘in a position where he could essentially dictate the terms of a political settlement.’

He added: ‘Without supplemental assistance, the picture is a lot more dire. I think there is a very real risk that the Ukrainians could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024.’

The CIA chief told attendees of the Bush Center Forum on Leadership in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday that while Ukrainian forces ‘can hold their own on the battlefield’, they are ‘at a tough moment on the battlefield right now.’

Progress on the frontlines of the bloodiest conflict on European soil in decades is slow, and Russia has ramped up its pressure on Ukrainian forces. 

After capturing the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka in February, Russia is now pushing towards the hill town of Chasiv Yar. 

If its forces take Chasiv Yar, they can then move towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two key cities in the Donetsk region that are still under Ukrainian control. 

An aerial view shows destroyed houses after strike in the town of Pryvillya at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 14, 2022

Ukrainian soldier walks along a trench on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists, not far from town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on December 10, 2021

Ukrainian soldier walks along a trench on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists, not far from town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on December 10, 2021

William J Burns (pictured) heads up the Central Intelligence Agency

William J Burns (pictured) heads up the Central Intelligence Agency

Ukrainian troops are struggling, as supplies and munitions dwindle. A massive $60bn military aid package is currently stuck in the US House of Representatives, currently controlled by the Republican Party, after passing through the Senate. 

Burns said that assistance from the US would mean Ukraine could turn the tide of the battle, and could ‘ continue to do damage with deeper strikes in Crimea…and against the Black Sea fleet.’ 

He added: ‘With the boost that would come from military assistance, both practically and psychologically…the Ukrainians are entirely capable of holding their own through 2024 and puncture Putin’s arrogant view that time is on his side.’ 

On top of military aid, Ukraine needs an additional £34bn in support this year alone, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. 

The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva said Russia’s war against Ukraine needed to end, and called it it both a human tragedy and a drag on growth prospects for the global economy.

Support for Ukraine from most of the Western world remains strong. Yesterday, it was revealed that G7 members were considering using the $300bn in Russian assets frozen due to sanctions as collateral to provide loans to Ukraine.  

Russian strikes on Ukraine in the early hours of Friday killed at least nine people, including three children, as Kyiv said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber for the first time.

Moscow said a military plane crashed over the south of the country while returning to base from a combat mission after suffering a technical malfunction.

The downing of a Russian bomber used to fire cruise missiles at Ukraine would be a highly symbolic win for Kyiv, which has been pounded by hundreds of overnight Russian aerial strikes since Moscow invaded more than two years ago.

The latest overnight Russian strikes on the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region killed at least nine people and injured more than a dozen, Ukrainian officials said Friday.

‘A child who was heavily wounded during a massive enemy attack on the Dnipropetrovsk region today died in hospital. The death toll had now risen to nine, including three children,’ the office of Ukraine’s Prosector General said in a statement on Telegram.