- The Russia-Ukraine war has dealt multiple setbacks to Vladimir Putin, says CIA chief William Burns.
- Burns said in an op-ed for Foreign Affairs that the war has “proved foolish and illusory” for Putin.
- The invasion, Burns said, had weakened Russia’s military and economy.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has crippled its economy and left it beholden to China, says CIA director William J. Burns.
“Russia’s economy is suffering long-term setbacks, and the country is sealing its fate as China’s economic vassal,” Burns wrote in an opinion article for Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
Russia has been struggling under the West’s crippling economic sanctions ever since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. But the ties between Russia and China have only deepened, with bilateral trade reaching a record $240 billion in 2023, per Chinese customs data.
“Putin’s war has already been a failure for Russia on many levels,” Burns wrote in his article. “His original goal of seizing Kyiv and subjugating Ukraine proved foolish and illusory.”
The Ukraine war, Burns said, has dealt “immense damage” to Russia’s military.
“At least 315,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded, two-thirds of Russia’s prewar tank inventory has been destroyed, and Putin’s vaunted decadeslong military modernization program has been hollowed out,” Burns wrote in his op-ed.
Russia’s military and economic setbacks have also seen it turn to countries like North Korea and Iran for munitions.
“Putin’s overblown ambitions have backfired in another way, too: they have prompted NATO to grow larger and stronger,” Burns said in his article.
The military alliance has seen its ranks grow in the past year, with Finland joining in April. Sweden’s application for NATO membership has received the endorsement of all members except Hungary’s.
Burns’ withering assessment of Putin and Russia was echoed by UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps earlier this month.
“The world has turned its back on Russia, forcing Putin into the humiliation of going cap in hand to North Korea to keep his illegal invasion going,” Grant Shapps wrote in an X post on January 5.
Representatives for Burns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.