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Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russia ‘coming soon’: top spy

24.05.2023 12:00
Ukraine has amassed “the minimum necessary amount of weapons” for a counteroffensive against invading Russian forces and the operation will “start soon,” according to the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (GUR).
Kyrylo Budanov.

Kyrylo Budanov made the statement in an interview with Japanese public broadcaster NHK on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Ukraine’s top spy said: "Many civilians are still under Russian occupation, and we cannot waste any more time. We already have a minimum of weapons and other equipment. All I can say is that it [the counteroffensive] will start soon."  

Budanov added that Ukraine would use all the weapons and assets at its disposal to expel the invading Russian army from occupied territory. 

The top Ukrainian intelligence official stated that for the counteroffensive to succeed, "a significant supply of weapons and ammunition" would be needed, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported.

"We need more weapons, and we need fighter jets," Budanov told NHK.

Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Tuesday that his country was ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets as Western allies prepare to supply the aircraft to help Kyiv’s war effort against the Russian invasion. 

Belgorod attacks: 'incursion from Ukraine into Russia's western borderlands'?

Russia’s military said on Tuesday it had “routed” militants who had attacked its western Belgorod region with armoured vehicles, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

The Russian army said it killed more than 70 “Ukrainian nationalists” and pushed the remainder back into Ukraine, according to The Guardian.

The incursion from Ukraine into Russia's western borderlands, which lasted two days, could force the Kremlin to divert troops from the front lines as Ukraine prepares its major counteroffensive, according to military analysts polled by the Reuters news agency.

It would deal a psychological blow to Moscow, experts added.

Although Ukraine said it had “nothing to do” with the attacks on Belgorod, military analysts believe the cross-border raid, the biggest since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, was almost certainly coordinated with Ukraine's armed forces, according to Reuters.

Neil Melvin, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said: "The Ukrainians are trying to pull the Russians in different directions to open up gaps. The Russians are forced to send reinforcements."

He added: "They'll have to respond to this and put troops there and then have lots of troops all along the border area, even though that may not be the way the Ukrainians are coming."

Meanwhile, Mark Galeotti, who heads the London-based Mayak Intelligence consultancy and has written several books on the Russian military, said the two Russian anti-Kremlin groups involved in attacks on Belgorod were “controlled” by Ukraine’s military intelligence, according to Reuters.

He said the militants were "hoping that in some small way they can contribute to the downfall of the Putin regime,” Reuters reported.

Further ‘incidents’ in Belgorod overnight: governor

On Wednesday morning, Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced that the region had been targeted by "numerous drones" overnight, the AFP news agency reported. 

Gladkov said a UAV attack over Novaya Tavolzhanka failed when the explosive device dropped did not detonate, while shelling in Terezovka had injured one person who was hospitalised as a result, according to The Guardian.

Wednesday is day 455 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, NHK, Ukrainska Pravda, Reuters, The Guardian, barrons.com