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18 Sep, 2023 12:13

No ‘victory parade’ in Moscow or Kiev – Ukraine’s spy chief

The West has more arms to spare for the cause, Kirill Budanov told The Economist
No ‘victory parade’ in Moscow or Kiev – Ukraine’s spy chief

As long as Ukraine receives Western arms, it will not be defeated by Russia – but neither side will be able to achieve a total victory, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ukrainian military has said.

In an interview with The Economist released on Sunday, Kirill Budanov dismissed the notion that Western military assistance to Kiev will be forced to a halt.

“Warehouses in the West are not completely empty. No matter what anyone says. We can see this very clearly as an intelligence agency,” Budanov stated.

Unlike Russia, Ukraine relies heavily on foreign support, he acknowledged, while claiming that Moscow’s resources are already dwindling. The Russian economy can only hold out until 2025, while the flow of weapons to the front line will end by the following year, he predicted, calling for aid deliveries to continue.

“We understand we will not end the war with a victory parade in Moscow. But neither should Moscow ever hope to hold one in Kiev,” he said.

The spy chief claimed that there were “zero” civilian casualties in Russia from “his forces” thanks to a deliberate decision made by Kiev.

Russian officials have reported multiple attacks by the Ukrainian military in border regions, some of them resulting in civilians being injured or killed.

Budanov’s agency was likely responsible for last year’s bombing attack on the Crimean Bridge, according to Russian investigators and Western media reports.

The plot involved a disguised explosive device, which detonated as it was being transported across the Kerch Strait by a truck, whose driver was unaware of what he was carrying. He was killed in the blast alongside a married couple driving nearby.

Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in the early summer. Ukrainian officials have dismissed Western criticism of its slow pace and Kiev’s choice of priorities. The country has lost 71,500 troops in the push, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow perceives the hostilities with Kiev as part of a Western proxy war against Russia. The sponsors of the conflict are using Ukrainians as “cannon fodder” and will not allow their government to sue for peace as long as they can inflict more damage, Russian officials have said.