The US has information that Russia may have delayed announcing its withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, according to four people familiar with the matter.
According to a person familiar with the matter, senior Russian officials discussed the U.S. midterm elections as a pending factor in announcing the withdrawal. “It was planned for 2020,” another person familiar with the matter told CNN.
Still, the election was not the only consideration for Russia’s retreat, officials said. U.S. officials are wondering when Russia will formally approve a withdrawal.
While the information is not a formal assessment of Russia’s intentions, it does indicate Russia’s continuing interest in influencing the political landscape in the United States.
“I doubt the Americans were really aware,” said another source familiar with Western intelligence.
President Joe Biden appeared last week to suggest that the US believes the timing of Russia’s announcement was more than just a coincidence.
“I think it’s interesting that they waited until after the election to make that decision. It’s proof of the fact that the Russian military is there,” Biden said at a press conference last Wednesday.
Biden also said he hopes Russians will be more willing to negotiate the release of US citizens detained in Russia after the election, including Britney Griner and Paul Whelan. After the midterm elections, Griner’s attorneys announced that the US basketball star had been moved to a Russian penal colony to serve the remainder of a nine-year drug-trafficking sentence that was upheld in late October.
CIA Director Bill Burns was in Ankara on Monday discussing American prisoners with his Russian counterpart, according to the National Security Council, but much of the discussion focused on managing the risks posed by nuclear weapons. The NSC declined to comment on this matter.
Information that suggests Russia wanted to avoid giving the Democratic administration and Congress the positive news on the eve of the election is mounting evidence that Russia is betting that the Republican-led US will cut aid to Ukraine. add to
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN in a recent interview that the Republican House will more closely monitor and control money and weapons flowing into Kyiv. The comments are taken out of context and say that military support for Ukraine remains high no matter who rules the House. Vocal criticism of US support for Ukraine at the GOP conference remains, including state-elect Republican senator-elect J.D. Vance.
“There is still a strong bipartisan consensus on Ukraine, but the parties that have been more vocal about their support are the Democrats, especially the Biden administration,” said one of the people familiar with the matter.
Last week, Kremlin-linked oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin appeared to confirm what U.S. intelligence had known for years. That’s because the Russian government tried to support Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and his 2020 election because he saw it as friendly to their interests. I’m saying that.
Prigozhin, who runs the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm deployed to spread disinformation in past U.S. elections, said in the U.S. election “we interfered, we interfered, and we will interfere.” .
Suspected Russian operatives used far-right media platforms to smear Democratic candidates in a handful of battleground states in the week leading up to this year’s midterm elections, according to private researchers. did.
Still, multiple U.S. and congressional officials tracking Russia’s influence operations have said that if Russia chooses to time its official withdrawal from Kherson with the U.S. midterm elections, Americans will be forced to reinstate individual individuals in Ukraine. He said he likely overestimated how interested he was in combat. This shows a lack of sophistication in Russian intelligence operations, these sources said.
“Despite all the fuss we have about their information manipulation and political interference, they’re still not very good at the grand scheme of things.” I have.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin himself did not announce the withdrawal – Russia calls it an “operation” rather than a “withdrawal” – distanced himself from what has become a serious embarrassment for the Russian military. The withdrawal has been heavily criticized on pro-Russian war blogs.
“An announcement like this, however fabricated, by Russia, is clearly abandoning the only provincial capital it occupied during the invasion,” said one of the people familiar with the information. I have a lot of eggs on my face.”