Kyrylo Budanov: With the Kerch Bridge, we will see it through to the end, Putin will be upset again
Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, made a visit to the United States as part of the Ukrainian delegation led by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
While in Washington, Kyrylo Budanov gave an exclusive extensive interview to Howard Altman for The War Zone.
The Chief of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate discussed the progress of the counteroffensive and explained the purpose of strikes on important Russian military targets, including a systematic campaign against the air defense systems of the aggressor state in the temporarily occupied Crimea.
Kyrylo Budanov also commented on recent sabotage operations in Russian territory, the mysterious attack on "Wagnerites" in Sudan, and the missile strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the occupied Sevastopol.
Main points from the interview:
[Regarding the attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters] we provided certain intelligence assistance. We continuously transmit intelligence information to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Since mid-August, there has been a certain intensification concerning Crimea. [...] We are striking military infrastructure and military objects of the Russian Federation on the occupied peninsula.
The breaches we have created in the Russian air defense system are used for other operations. Additionally, we are depleting their supplies of air defense missiles – they are not unlimited.
We are also demonstrating the obvious incapability of Russian air defense systems, which consequently makes them less profitable in the global arms market. When the whole world sees drones attacking Moscow, no one wants to buy Russian air defense systems anymore. This is very painful for [Russia].
Currently, there is high demand for Ukrainian drones. We cannot sell them right now because they are all being used in combat operations, but after the war ends, this will be of great significance.
Regarding strikes on Russia, including Moscow, carried out by someone: Russian society and especially big Russian businesses are beginning to feel the impact of the war because prior to this, the war was happening only on their TV screens.
Strikes on Russia undermine the population's belief in the "all-powerful Russian regime" – they are starting to ask logical questions like, "Where is our air defense system that should protect us?"
The attack on the "Chkalovsky" airfield near Moscow was carried out by sabotage groups. Of course, all of them are in some way connected with us. Let's say we assist them. This is a strike against the FSB and the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation because they clearly cannot provide the necessary protection for strategically important airfields in Moscow.
We are eagerly awaiting the American "Abrams." [...] They need to be used very selectively – for specific, well-thought-out and prepared breakthrough operations, because if they are used on the front lines in a general military battle, they won't last long on the battlefield.
All the main combat actions are currently being conducted "on foot," without the use of any equipment. This is due to a high saturation of artillery systems on the front line, as well as portable anti-tank weapons.
The Russians have far more human resources. Therefore, we cannot continue to fight soldier to soldier. This will not yield the desired results. [To change this], we need to increase the overall number of artillery barrels on the battlefield. We need long-range weapon systems to strike at enemy command centers, material and technical objects, and so on.
If we say conditionally, 100 ATACMS missiles will not change the situation. We need at least hundreds.
The offensive operation in the south will continue as long as we have resources. In parallel, de-occupation operations are taking place in Bahmut. Recently, we liberated Klishchiivka, which may seem like a small piece of land, but it is very important because it is located on a hill [...] The threat of Russians losing Bahmut forces them to constantly deploy additional forces to the city.
The question regarding the Kerch Bridge is not whether we will strike or not. We do it regularly, so we will see it through to the end. It's only a matter of time. What will Putin do? He will be upset again. What can he do?
In any part of the world, we will search for and track down Russian war criminals. Sooner or later, this time will come, wherever they may be. Therefore, don't be surprised when something happens to Russian war criminals on certain territories. Regarding the question of the attack on the "Wagnerites" in Sudan, unfortunately, I cannot confirm or deny this information.
Ukraine will be eternally grateful for all the assistance provided. Victory over Russia will be as much America's victory as it is Ukraine's. It will be our joint victory, and it is already approaching.