Ukraine is making some big claims: Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov said that he is “optimistic” that the war will be over by the end of the year. That was the takeaway from one of the most straightforward interviews with the high-ranking officer since the Russian invasion began in late February.
His prediction didn’t end there. General Budanov suggested the turning point in the war would occur in late summer. He believes Ukraine could be successful at stopping the Russian advances and taking back the territory lost in the initial Russian invasion and the 2014 invasion. He said that Ukraine would reassert its authority over the Donbas and Crimea.
In the frank interview with the UK’s Sky News , Budanov also stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin is sick with cancer and mental issues and that a coup is already beginning to remove him from power.
In the interview, he struck a very confident tone about the way the war was going. The General’s optimism was also mirrored by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who told the press that Ukrainian forces had retaken 1,000 cities and small towns back from the Russians in the counteroffensive to drive them back.
Budanov: Ukraine Will Win By The End of the Year
“The breaking point will be in the second part of August,” Budanov said in his interview, of the ongoing war and its outcome. “Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year,” he added, calling Russian military power a “myth.”
“As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost, including Donbas and the Crimea.
“Europe sees Russia as a big threat. They are afraid of its aggression,” he continued.
“We have been fighting Russia for eight years and we can say that this highly publicized Russian power is a myth.
“It is not as powerful as this. It is a horde of people with weapons” Budanov concluded.
Regarding the recent setback where a Russian battalion suffered heavy casualties in trying three times to forge a river crossing with pontoon bridges across the Siversky Donets River, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia lost “significant armored maneuver elements” of at least one battalion tactical group in the attack.
Budanov said of the river attack, “I can confirm that they suffered heavy losses in manpower and armor, and I can say that when the artillery strikes happened, many of the crews abandoned their equipment.”
Budanov is one of Ukraine’s younger (36) but arguably more able generals. His job as intelligence chief for the armed forces is to gather, assess, and present to the Ministry of Defense the most accurate, all-source intelligence for them to make timely decisions. He’s had intelligence assistance from the West, particularly the United States and the UK, but he was very accurate in his prediction when the Russians would invade when the government publicly doubted it would happen.
Is Putin’s Health Deteriorating, and Is There a Coup Under Way?
Rumors have abounded for years about the health of Putin. But during the interview with Sky News, General Budanov also claimed yesterday that according to an unnamed Russian oligarch, Putin is “very ill with blood cancer.”
This unnamed Russian oligarch reportedly has close ties to the Kremlin and was referred to only as ‘Yuri’ to protect his identity. He said that many of the health issues Putin is facing are linked to him having blood cancer.
Budanov added that Putin, 69, is in “very bad psychological condition”, whether this is actual fact or just a Ukrainian disinformation attempt is unknown. But he added that Putin’s mistakes will lead to the removal of his authoritarian regime and that a coup is already underway.
“It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched and they are moving into that way.”
“They are moving in this way and it is impossible to stop it.”
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO, and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and for another military news organization, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.