Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing the “information war” in Ukraine, CIA Director Bill Burns said Thursday.
Speaking at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, Burns warned that Russia could use chemical weapons, saying the allegations raised by Moscow to use as a false flag operation “is something … very much a part of Russia’s playbook.”
Other witnesses at the hearing were Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Scott Berrier and Gen. Paul Nakasone, Commander of United States Cyber Command.
Haines accused Russian forces of operating with “reckless disregard” for the safety of civilians in Ukraine.
She said the US intelligence community does not have any evidence that Ukraine is pursuing biological or nuclear weapons.
“This influence campaign is completely consistent with longstanding Russian efforts to accuse the United States of sponsoring bioweapons work,” in the country, she added.
Earlier in the day, the White House pushed back on allegations from Russia that the US has biowarfare labs in Ukraine, maintaining that it is Moscow that has a biological weapons program.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said not only does Russia have the “capacity” to use chemical and biological weapons but it also has a “history of using” them.
“In this moment we should have our eyes open for that possibility,” she told reporters.
The warning comes in response to claims by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who said documents suggest “components of bioweapons were being developed in Ukraine.”