According to CIA Director Burns, Ukraine has important months ahead. The key to victory lies on the battlefield, says the US intelligence chief. At the same time, Burns warns not to underestimate China’s ambitions regarding Taiwan.

According to the head of the US secret service CIA, the next six months will be decisive for the outcome of the war in Ukraine. “The key will be on the battlefield over the next six months,” CIA Director William Burns said at an event at George Town University in Washington.

“We must shake Putin’s hubris and make him understand that not only will he not be able to advance any further in Ukraine, but that with each passing month he is in more and more danger of losing the territory he has given Ukraine so far illegally snatched”. According to Burns, Putin does not want to negotiate seriously.

At the same time, Burns warned against underestimating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitions towards Taiwan. “Our assessment at the CIA is that I would not underestimate President Xi’s ambitions regarding Taiwan.” The poor performance of the Russian military and Russian weapons systems in Ukraine probably surprised and unsettled Xi Jinping, who is trying to learn lessons from it.

Burns said the United States knew through intelligence that Xi had ordered his military to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan by 2027. “It does not mean that he has decided to invade Taiwan in 2027 or any other year, but it is a reminder of the seriousness of his goal and ambition.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine had fueled fears in the West that China might consider a similar move in relation to the island democratic republic of Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China considers Taiwan part of its territory. Russia and China signed an “unlimited” partnership last February, shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

“I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the mutual commitment to this partnership, but it’s not a friendship without borders,” Burns said. China has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the Chinese government has also been reluctant to provide direct material support to Russia.