Almost 600 days of Russia’s war in Ukraine have given rise to almost 600 days of confrontation between pro-Ukrainian and Kremlin-appeasing groups within the US administration. 

The good news is that friends of Ukraine have largely succeeded in overcoming the artificial and self-destructive taboo against supporting Ukraine that the US has imposed on itself. The bad news is that – each time – Kyiv’s American skeptics seem to succeed in significantly slowing down US support.

Unacknowledged in large parts of official Washington is the reality that thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have had to pay for this procrastination with their lives. Had there been a hundred or more F-16 fighter jets in the Ukrainian skies a year ago, this cursed war would now be history.


Meanwhile, the US’s puzzling taboo has deliberately tied the hands of the victims of criminal aggression. The US press has reported in detail on how Russia invaded Ukraine, is destroying its cities and villages, and is daily murdering civilians with rockets launched from Russian territory. Yet Washington has effectively prohibited Ukraine from delivering answering strikes on the sources of Russia’s bombings.

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Not one US official has publicly admitted that this line has been adopted. Worse, some act as if it doesn’t exist. While his colleagues in the White House have dragged their feet on providing Ukraine with military aircraft, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has unambiguously asserted Ukraine’s right to utilize any weapon at its disposal to expel the occupiers, including strikes on the territory of the aggressor.


An illuminating article published earlier this summer in Newsweek – Exclusive: The CIA’s Blind Spot about Ukraine War” by William Arkin, revealed the origins and inner workings of the confused US approach. 

At Biden’s behest, CIA Director William Joseph Burnestablished direct communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow as early as in November 2021, that is three months before Russia launched its full-scale attack on Ukraine.

"In some ironic waysthe meeting was highly successful," a senior US intelligence official told NewsweekThe United States would not fight directly nor seek regime change, the Biden administration pledged. Russia would limit its assault to Ukraine and act in accordance with unstated but well-understood guidelines for secret operations. 


But, according to Newsweek, “Once Russian forces poured into Ukraine, the United States had to quickly shift gears. The CIA, like the rest of the U.S. intelligence community, had misread Russia's military capacity and Ukraine's resilience as Russia failed to take Kyiv and withdrew from the north.”

Nevertheless, certain clandestine rules of the road apparently agreed to by Burns and Putin were adhered to by the US sideWashington would prohibit Ukraine from carrying out strikes on Russian territory. And, in return, speaking as if for all NATO, Burns sought and gained a promise from the dictator not to attack NATO member countries. 

Burns met with Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin in Ankara in November 2022 and then is believed to have briefed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky about his “non-agreement” with the Russians. 

Far from criticizing Burns, Arkin emoted on the CIA’s difficulties in keeping an eye on the increasingly unruly Ukrainians, who repeatedly attempted to deliver strikes on targets both in Russian occupied Crimea and Russia itself.


Naryshkin revealed that he and Burns discussed, "thought about and deliberated on what should be done about Ukraine" in a lengthy phone call on June 30, initiated by the US side.

Over the 560+ days of Russia’s so-called “special military operation,” and tens of thousands of documented warcrimes, instances of torture, shootings and rape, Burns and the CIA have remained silent on Russia, while apparently issuing threats to Ukraine. On July 5, a CIA spokesperson warned that if Kyiv continued acts of sabotage within Russia it could have disastrous consequences.” 

What other catastrophic consequences are the people in Burn’s office expecting will occur through the fault of the Ukrainians?

All thinkable and unthinkable catastrophes have already happened as a result of the covert Burns-Putin deal. Yet Newsweek was beside itself with pride at Burns’ diplomatic success and expressed anger at the Ukrainians for trying to defend their country by violating the “ground rules” that Burns was seeking to impose on them without their consent.


With Russia’s war against Ukraine dragging on and on, and the Ukrainians eager to break through with the proper support of their supporters, should this cruel state of affairs be allowed to continue? 

The bipartisan pro-Ukrainian majority in the post-vacation Congress would do well to organize hearings to which they should invite Blinken, Burns, Arkin and those sources in the CIA whom he cites in his article. They should also invite National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who has been singing in the same key as Burns. 

The hearings should seek answers to the following questions:

1. Does there exist an agreement between the governments of the US and the Russian Federation about “rules of the road” of the Russo-Ukrainian war?

2. If so, why were Congress and the American people unaware of them until now?

3. If not, then on what basis is Burns imposing these “road rules” on Ukraine?

4. Should Congress even regard Burns’ actions as treasonous? 


Burns and Sullivan live in a world where the great powers set the rules and small countries must humbly obey. So does Putin. 

We do not have to live in such a world and accept the rules they seek to impose on us.


Dr. Frederick Starr, a co-founder (with George Kennan and James Billington) of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, is chairperson of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, and has written two dozen books on Russia and the USSR.

Dr. Andrei Piontkovsky is a Russian scientist, political writer and analyst, member of International PEN Club who was forced to leave Russia in 2016. For many years he has been a regular political commentator for the BBC World Service, Radio Liberty, and Voice of America. Piontkovsky is the author of several books on the Putin presidency.  In 2017, Piontkovsky was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize for “Courage in Journalism.”

The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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Comments (9)
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I hope that the invasion of Kyiv Post comment columns by disinformation trolls, some parroting russian lines verbatim, one or two inserting individual cognitive errors the individuals feel will influence others to their erroneous points of view are visible to readers of any educational level or cognitive capacity.

The biased use of antisemitic fictional assertion concerning Ukraine should be recognized as based upon individual cognitive bias.
Beginning with such clear bias leads to the adoption of fallacious reasoning.

The clearly biased - in the comments you can recognize the overgeneralization and consequent attempt to develop what are called complex events or factors as originating from some single source of a group consensus , always, of course, exterior to the conspiracy ideationist.
This is a trait found in paranoia, some forms of schizophrenia, and in Bipolar personalitydisorders.
Such individuals are inherently naive to the FACT that THIS is exactly what russian Information and Psychological Operations use in their never-ending hybrid war.
Instructional handbooks and training in IPO reflect understanding of this vulnerability and the utility of what were called within that counterintelligence community, "useful idiots."
Woods Beldau
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Russia's war against Ukraine is a fundamental violation of the UN Charter, of multiple agreements between Russia and Ukraine and as a result a violation of Article 15 par 4 of the Russian Constitution:
"Universally recognized principles and norms of international law as well as international agreements of the Russian Federation should be an integral part of its legal system. If an international agreement of the Russian Federation establishes rules, which differ from those stipulated by law, then the rules of the international agreement shall be applied."
Putin and his leadership cadre can be prosecuted for his unconstitutional war that has cost the Russian people tens of thousands of deaths and needlessly isolated Russian science,
If the Russian people demanded that Putin be prosecuted they could be shielded from bearing the cost of war damages resulting from Putin's unconstitutional decisions. The hundreds of billions under the personal control of the leadership could cover a significant share of war damage. By prosecuting Putin the Russian people could also prevent a Putin II replacement, because any leader that advocated Putin policies would be liable for war costs. The 2024 election could see a champion for democracy in Russia emerge and the present war could result in transformational change in Russia - if Ukraine wins.
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The overriding concern for the US government in all diplomatic and geopolitical discourse involving first, the USSR, and now Russia, has been for decades and still is to reduce the probability of an incident or accident leading to nuclear escalation. This will almost certainly continue to be their overriding concern with whatever successor state(s) may eventually inherit the Russian nuclear arsenal. That's why the Obama administration's public response to the Crimea invasion in 2014 was underwhelming, and why the Biden administration has been slow-walking all lethal aid since the start of the full-scale invasion. Heck, that's why George Bush Sr. delivered his infamous "Chicken Kyiv" speech back in 1991. And frankly this is where US and Ukrainian interests diverge. If there is a 1% probability of a general nuclear exchange, the expected cost in American lives alone is 500,000, and it's the first goal of policy to reduce that expected cost.

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We know Ukrainians are dying while we drag our feet, and we know we don't get any credit for nuclear wars that *don't* happen, but it's the job of policymakers like Burns to put passions aside and try to be objective and rational. Everyone here wants to see Ukraine win, and everyone is also very worried about what will happen when they do. Though it is in the interests of the powers that have nuclear weapons to prevent other powers from acquiring them, there is no other capability that works remotely so well to deter aggression. If I were Zelensky I would already have a covert program in place to acquire my own, especially given Ukraine's unique history of having once given them up, then come in a single lifetime to regret it.
I okru2
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In USA politics, Republicans are supposed to be war happy and dems are the peaceniks. In 2023 America, just the opposite is true.
American politics is in turmoil, and both Biden and Trump need to be gone before things will settle down again.
If the USA is smart, it will enact a constitutional amendment providing for both age and term limits on its federal politicians.
There is another factor at play here. Americans think that they are the best at everything, and of course they are not. This attitude has fostered the following fallacy: “America is NATO”. Of course they are big and powerful, but they are in fact just part of NATO.
Nowa Jan
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If William Burns has Jewish roots, he wants to see Ukraine totally destroyed because more than 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews were murdered by German Nazis and Christian Ukrainians.

Kelley Kunnanz
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@Nowa Jan, congratulations. That was the dumbest thing I heard all day. It must be raining in St Petersburg, Ivan. The rain has made your brain soggy.
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This highly corrupted process should be very sobering for Zelenskiy's administration. He has alteady signed on to the true 21st century Nazi program at WEF and Davos, but he must "play the game" until he can disable Putin and his USSR 2.0 dream.

I believe that Mr. Z is getting educated to the absolutely scummy underworld of globalist politics, and I believe he knows that Ukrainians will NOT succumb to this Serfdom 2.0 program being fed the world by the Davos mob.

Ukraine is finishing Patton's work for him. The Military Industrial Complex and Wall St with their Beltway concubines we call "representativez" have pampered and enabled the USSR, RF, Red China. They NEED enemies, but Zelenskiy is eliminating an adversary for them. This is what's got the CIA upset. Ukraine is saying "screw you, Russia's going down".

The censoring of the Holodomor is only the first in a long list of "crimes" committed by this globalist cabal against Ukraine.

Ukraine could be resetting the clock on global dominance by the freakish elites.
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Biden has done more harm to NATO than Trump. He has shown that he is fearful of Russia and not willing to stand up for democracy. He has shown that he will NOT stand up for the small countries like Estonia. He also shows those small countries that they must develop their own nuclear capability because Russia can threaten the USA successfully.
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CJRIS.....You seem to just gloss over the potential back stabbing of Ukraine by senior US officials ?
If true this is a disgraceful betrayal of a nascent democratic ally who is paying a horrific price in lives ,torture and destruction of civilian infrastructure.
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Many in the online global media forums I monitor have been dumbfounded by the bizarre allied nation slow walking and oddly metered out support for Ukraine's during its ongoing existential fight. Some nations are straying from what the majority of their electorate would accept as fair play. A good leader inspires their country to pursue higher standards as is happening in Ukraine right now. Distracted leadership fails to reign in subordinates who put personal interest or fears above fairness. Weak leadership is fickle pursuing the easy political path even when unethical. Sociopathic leadership eventually leads a weak minded population to its national decline. I think the majority of electorate in Ukraines' allied partners wants their nations' foreign support to be prompt, sufficiently decisive and unwavering.

I have great respect for the nations who are on a per GDP basis contributing so much to support Ukraine (1st is Lithuania, then Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Latvia...). My own country Canada, comes in at a disappointing 29th place (below USA at 28th). Regardless, global citizens can also improve upon their governments foreign policy quirks and sometimes outright failures (ie. Turkey, India, China based on negotiable GDP contribution), and help Ukraine through their own purchasing decisions and donation.

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Well said and succinctly put !!
Ukraines so called 'allies' seem to want Ukraine to fight the unjustified and genocidal Russian invasion of a sovereign democracratic neighbour with one arm and one leg tied behind their backs ?? While insisting Ukraine doesn't attack a Russia that is systematically turning Ukraine into another bombed out Syria and Chechnya .
If indeed US was making secret deals with Russia behind everyone inc Ukraines backs , this doesn't bode well for the so called 'Free World' and NATO when CIA tries to sell out a nascent democracy ?