July 2, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Hafsa Khalil, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:17 a.m. ET, July 3, 2023
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4:07 a.m. ET, July 2, 2023

CIA chief says Ukraine war provides a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" for recruiting Russians

From CNN’s Sam Fossum

CIA Director William Burns is seen in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 25.
CIA Director William Burns is seen in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 25. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE

Discontent with the war in Ukraine has created what CIA Director William Burns called a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" for the recruitment of Russians.

"Disaffection with the war will continue to gnaw away at the Russian leadership, beneath the steady diet of state propaganda and practiced repression. That disaffection creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us at CIA, at our core a human intelligence service. We're not letting it go to waste," Burns said in remarks to the Ditchley Foundation in England. 

Burns pointed to a recent CIA outreach effort on the popular social media platform Telegram, showing Russians how to contact the CIA securely on the dark web, which he said has garnered 2.5 million views in its first week. 

We're very much open for business," Burns said.  

CIA officials involved in the project previously told CNN that Russia's invasion had created a historic opening for US intelligence and that a previous recruitment drive immediately following the launch of the invasion last year had been quite successful.  

Burns also addressed the recent rebellion by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, saying that his actions and speech prior to their march on Rostov-on-Don illustrate how the war has undermined Putin's power.