CIA chief warns Russia in assessment: ‘We will respond severely’ if it tries to invade Ukraine

In stark words made immediately before the release of the Second Presidential Intelligence Assessment on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo told congressional intelligence committees Wednesday that Moscow could expect “severe consequences” if it invaded Ukraine.

“I recognize that people are concerned that we’re willing to have the list of America’s adversaries, as you said, public. But the bottom line is that the Russians have made it clear that if they try to expand beyond Crimea, and if they try to attack the legitimate government of Ukraine, we will respond severely,” Pompeo said.

In addition to its line on the destruction of NATO, the report’s authors also warned in their redacted outline that “other senior members of Putin’s Government continue to pursue provocative actions that may be intended to destabilize Ukraine or U.S. interests.” Such activities included the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March, though it did not name the Russian officials suspected of providing the poison.

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