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22 Apr, 2024 16:05

Ukraine’s top spy warns of ‘problems’

Kirill Budanov has predicted “a rather difficult situation” for Kiev in mid-May and early June
Ukraine’s top spy warns of ‘problems’

Ukraine will face serious difficulties both on the front line and internally in late spring and early summer, the head of the country’s military intelligence, Kirill Budanov, has predicted. The comments come amid reports that both officials in Kiev and Ukraine’s Western backers fear that Russia could breach the country’s defenses.

In an interview with the BBC’s Ukrainian service on Monday, Budanov said, “a rather difficult situation awaits us in the near future,” adding that “Armageddon will not happen… but there will be problems.”

When asked to elaborate, he explained that he expects challenges both on the battlefield and within the internal political landscape in mid-May and early June. The intel chief also suggested that Russia “would use an integrated approach” to achieve its goals, without giving any details.

Western media outlets and officials say Russia could soon mount a major offensive, taking advantage of its superior firepower and delays in Western assistance to Kiev, which has led to shortages of ammunition.

These fears were echoed in late March by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who said that while Kiev’s troops had managed to stabilize the situation on the front earlier this year, they are not prepared to repel a major Russian offensive in the coming months. He added that Kiev expects Moscow to go on the offensive at the end of May or in June, and implored Ukraine’s Western backers to send more military aid. 

In February, Russian troops drove the Ukrainian army out of the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka, while gradually capturing nearby settlements in the following weeks. Zelensky also suggested that Ukrainian forces would have to retreat further to reduce the length of the front line.

Amid calls for more aid, the US House of Representatives approved a $61 billion package for Ukraine over the weekend after months of congressional wrangling. While it still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by US President Joe Biden, it will take the Pentagon less than a week to deliver the arms to Ukraine, according to the Washington Post. 

However, the Financial Times, citing Ukrainian officials and analysts, reported that while the new aid package will bolster Kiev’s military capabilities, it will likely only slow down Russia’s advance.