According to the Ukrainian military intelligence service, almost two months after the start of the war in Ukraine, nothing has changed in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans.
“The purpose of the military aggression remained the same: it is an operation aimed at destroying the Ukrainian state,” intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told Der Spiegel. According to Russia, Ukraine should “cease to exist as a state”.
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When asked why Russia decided to withdraw its troops from the region around the capital Kyiv, Budanov said: “They didn’t just pull out like that – we drove them out of the Kyiv region. That began when we took the city of Irpin. It threatened to cut their forces in half in the Kyiv region.”
Budanov said he was not surprised that the Russian plan to conquer kyiv had failed. Instead, he is astonished “at the incompetence and negligence of the Russian commanders in carrying out an operation of such magnitude. If they really believed that they would be able to finish it in three days – and according to our findings, they were absolutely convinced of this – then the Russian leadership wonders how competent their generals are.”
Budanov also repeated the Ukrainian government’s demand for weapons from Germany: “We need artillery systems – the German army is especially strong in them,” the major general said. “And unfortunately, we need tanks, because we had very high losses of armored vehicles.”
The Ukrainian army wants to use arms to liberate occupied territories, Budanov said. This includes the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. Budanov sees no problem in training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard battle tank, for example: “We will learn this quickly. With all due respect, this is not advanced math.
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In view of the “inhumane” situation in the heavily contested port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had already called on Sunday for more support from the West.
Either the “partners will immediately provide Ukraine with all the heavy weapons it needs” or support it in negotiations to end the siege, Zelenskyy said in a video message. Selenskyj wants to “reduce the pressure on Mariupol and break the siege” with Western fighter jets.
Given the feared large-scale Russian attack in the east of the country, Zelenskyj also announced fierce resistance. “We will not give up our territory,” the Ukrainian president told US news channel CNN. The battle in the Donbas region could affect the course of the entire war. Ukraine must therefore assert itself. (AFP, dpa, cc)