At a security conference in Aspen, CIA Director William Burns spoke candidly about Vladimir Putin.
He said that after two decades of studying him, he is still difficult to predict.
Burns also dispelled rumors about Putin's health, saying the Kremlin leader is "too healthy."
In a rare, candid interview, CIA Director William Burns dispelled rumors about the state of Russian leader Vladimir Putin's health and said the Kremlin leader is very aware of the brutal war he has been waging.
While speaking with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell at the Aspen Security Summit, Burns said that after monitoring Putin's strategies for over two decades, he still is hard to predict, according to CNN White House reporter Natasha Bertrand.
Burns said that Putin's "appetite for risk has grown," in the lead-up to the Ukraine war, maintaining that Putin keeps a small circle now but that in the past, he used to have advisors that challenged him.
"There's virtually none of that now," Burns told the crowd.
Experts previously told Insider that Putin's purging of his inner circle throughout the Ukraine war has largely backfired, creating misinformation and an inflated sense of confidence.
Burns was quick to shoot down long-standing rumors about Putin's poor health, which have been amplified since the start of the war. In June, Putin addressed the rumors, saying that they are "greatly exaggerated."
"There are lots of rumors about President Putin's health, but as far as we can tell, he's entirely too healthy," Burns said at the conference.
In Aspen, Burns also said in his last meeting with the Kremlin leader in November, "Putin made no effort to deny the planning," of the Ukraine war.
"He believes it's his entitlement, it's Russia's entitlement, to dominate Ukraine," Burns said in Aspen.
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