In early November, months before the start of the war, CIA Director William Burns visited Moscow to deliver a warning: The US believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing to invade Ukraine. If he continued, he would face crippling sanctions from a united West.
The American spy chief was connected via a secure Kremlin phone to Mr Putin, who was staying in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and isolated from all but a few intimates. The Russian leader made no move to deny Mr Burns’ charges. Instead, he calmly recited a list of complaints about how the US had ignored Russian security concerns for years.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/vladimir-putins-20-year-march-to-war-in-ukraineand-how-the-west-mishandled-it-11648826461 Vladimir Putin’s 20-year march to war in Ukraine – and how the West mistreated him