CIA Director Williams Burns said Russia’s military has more problems than just manpower after President Vladimir Putinof 300,000 reservists last week. Putin’s decision, which has and attempts to flee the country, comes as Ukraine has liberated some Russian-controlled areas.
“Even if he’s able to mobilize 300,000 troops, it’s not like he’s throwing people like cannon fodder at the front, many of whom won’t be well trained, many of whom won’t have the kind of equipment that they need or the logistical support that they also need,” Burns told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell in an exclusive interview Monday. “His military has a lot of other problems; manpower is just one of them.”
Putin’s military mobilization appeared to be an acknowledgment that the war in Ukraine is not going according to plan. In announcing the move, Putin also hinted at the possibility of nuclear war.
“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will definitely use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said. “It’s not a hoax.”
Burns said it was “very hard to say at this point” whether Putin is bluffing, but the US intelligence community has seen “no practical evidence” that Putin is moving closer to using nuclear weapons.
“What we need to do is take it very seriously, watch for signs of actual preparations,” he said, adding that politicians should also “communicate very directly the serious consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons.”
See more of Norah O’Donnell’s exclusive interview with CIA Director Bill Burns on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Oct. 2.