Ukraine’s top spy admits counteroffensive failure
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is not going according to schedule, Kirill Budanov – head of the KIev's Main Intelligence Directorate – admitted in an interview with the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper published on Thursday.
According to the spy chief, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are not just behind schedule but have completely “fallen out of it” after several things did not go as “smoothly” as Kiev had hoped. He refused to explain what “falling out of schedule” actually meant, stating that everyone should “draw their own conclusion.”
Previously, Budanov had said in an interview with the same outlet in February that Kiev had every chance to end the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict this year. Now, however, he admitted that the picture has changed. He did not, however, elaborate on the specific reasons, stating that “most of the explanations for this are state secrets.”
Separately, Budanov also told Ukrainskaya Pravda that the continued supply of arms and other aid to the Ukrainian army could potentially be hampered by a protracted conflict in the Middle East, referring to the recent escalation between Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza.
“If that conflict is limited in time to a few weeks, then, in principle, there is nothing to worry about,” Budanov said. “However, if the situation drags on, it is quite clear that there will be some problems with the fact that it will be necessary to supply weapons and ammunition not only to Ukraine,” the spy chief added, noting that the world is “approaching global war pretty quickly.”
Problems with Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which was launched early this summer and was hailed to become a turning point for Kiev, were previously also admitted by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Last month, he announced that the operation had slowed down due to Russian air superiority and blamed Kiev’s Western backers for failing to supply Ukraine’s forces with the necessary weapons.
Western military officials have also stated that Russian defenses have proven more resilient than expected. The chief of the UK’s Defense Staff, Tony Radakin, admitted last month that the Russian-Ukraine conflict could drag on for “some time” and that Western expectations about what Kiev’s forces could achieve in the near future should be “adjusted.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that the Ukrainian military had lost as many as 90,000 troops since it launched its counteroffensive in June. While failing to achieve any significant progress, Kiev had reportedly also lost nearly 1,900 armored vehicles and some 557 tanks, according to the president.