Putin suggests “doubling down” could improve Ukraine war outcome


Russian President Vladimir Putin believes doubling down on the military conflict in Ukraine will improve his outcome in the war.

That’s according to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, Reuters reports.

“He’s in a frame of mind in which he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” said Burns, who was speaking at a Financial Times event in Washington. “I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress.”

Also, Burns said that China is closely monitoring Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and that it is affecting Chinese leaders’ calculations over Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

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Burns noted that the Chinese government had been struck by Ukraine’s fierce resistance to Russia’s invasion and by the economic costs Russia is bearing.

“I think the Chinese leadership is looking very carefully at all this – at the costs and consequences of any effort to use force to gain control over Taiwan,” Burns said.

At the same time, he believes it would not shift Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s long-term goals regarding Taiwan.

“I don’t for a minute think that this has eroded Xi’s determination over time to gain control over Taiwan,” said Burns. “But I think it’s something that’s affecting their calculation about how and when they go about doing that.”

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