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CIA director secretly met with Zelenskyy before invasion to reveal Russian plot to kill him, book says

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    Nat Quinn
    CIA Director Bill Burns met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a secret trip to Kyiv ahead of the Russian invasion last year to share news that appeared to surprise the Ukrainian leader: the Russians were plotting to assassinate him.
    At that time, in January 2022, Zelenskyy had been dismissing the idea that Russians would carry out an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and was suggesting America’s public warnings were creating a “panic,” noted Chris Whipple in his forthcoming book, “The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House.”
    It was unusual for the US to publicly disclose intelligence like this, suggesting Washington was confident in its assessment of Russia’s intentions. But just weeks before Russia invaded, Zelenskyy expressed concerns that such warnings would have a negative impact on the Ukrainian economy — and emphasised that Kyiv was used to facing threats from Russia.
    “Burns had come to give him a reality check” and the CIA director shared that Russian Special Forces were coming for Zelenskyy, writes Whipple, adding that President Joe Biden told Burns “to share precise details of the Russian plots.”
    “This immediately got Zelensky’s attention; he was taken aback, sobered by this news,” Whipple wrote in the book, set for release on January 17.
    Russia invaded Ukraine the next month, launching the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II. Since that time, Ukrainian officials have spoken about Zelenskyy surviving more than a dozen Russian assassination attempts. But Whipple, who interviewed Burns, gives readers a glimpse of how the stakes were laid out to Zelenskyy as he tried to push back on US warnings about an impending invasion.
    “The intelligence was so detailed that it would help Zelensky’s security forces thwart two separate Russian attempts on his life,” he wrote.
    As previously reported, Burns also shared a “blueprint of Putin’s invasion plan” during that visit in Zelenskyy’s office to help him prepare. Whipple wrote. He previewed Russian plans to attack Antonov Airport north of Kyiv and to use it as a staging area for an assault on Kyiv.
    Whipple wrote that most interviews for his book were on “deep background” which meant that he could use the information but he agreed not to quote sources directly without permission.
    The US has been a key partner for Ukraine throughout Russia’s unprovoked invasion, which began in February 2022. Kyiv has received billions of dollars in security assistance from Washington since the war began, and the US has continued to provide Ukraine with vital intelligence to aid its forces on the battlefield.

    CIA director secretly met with Zelenskyy before invasion to reveal Russian plot to kill him, book says | Business Insider

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