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CIA director says Putin’s military has a lot of problems, “manpower only one of them”

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By Caitlin Yilek

September 27, 2022 / 7:02 PM / CBS News

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CIA Director Williams Burns said Russia’s military has more issues than just manpower after President Vladimir Putin ordered a mobilization of 300,000 reservists last week. Putin’s decision, which has sparked protests and attempts to flee the country, comes as Ukraine has liberated some Russian-held areas. 

“Even if he’s able to mobilize 300,000 troops, it’s not as if throwing people like cannon fodder toward the front, many of whom are not going to be well trained, many of whom are not going to have the kind of equipment that they need or the logistical support that they need as well,” 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 only one of them.” 

Putin’s military mobilization appeared to be an acknowledgment that the war in Ukraine is not going according to plans. As he announced 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 certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said. “It’s not a bluff.”

Burns said it was “very hard to say at this point” if Putin is bluffing, but the U.S. intelligence community has not seen “any practical evidence” that Putin is moving closer to using nuclear weapons. 

“What we have to do is take it very seriously, watch for signs of actual preparations,” he said, adding that policymakers should also “communicate very directly the severe consequences that would flow from any use of nuclear weapons.” 

Watch more of Norah O’Donnell’s exclusive interview with CIA Director Bill Burns on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Oct. 2. 

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First published on September 27, 2022 / 7:02 PM

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