CIA Director William Burns told a Financial Times conference on Saturday that the US’ intelligence agencies haven’t seen any “practical evidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously claimed that Putin could use such weapons.
“We don’t see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for the deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Burns said at the conference in Washington DC, repeating a similar assessment he made at the beginning of April.
However, Burns added that in his opinion, Putin “doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” and the US should therefore “stay very sharply focused” on the potential nuclear threat regardless.
The Kremlin has insisted that Russia will not deploy nuclear weapons against its neighbor, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev stating on Friday that “Russia firmly abides by the principle that there can be no victors in a nuclear war, and it must not be unleashed.”