Kyrylo Budanov: Our units will enter Crimea with weapons in hand


The Head of the State Government Kyrylo Budanov on the liberation of Crimea, Arrestovych, missile strikes and the map of “dismembered” Russia

Conversations with the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense Kyryll Budanov waited half a year. Although during this time Budanov gave dozens of interviews and comments. And a few hours before the meeting, his interview also appeared for the New York Times, where he clarified a number of questions prepared by our editors.

Five minutes before the start of the conversation, Budanov warned that he would not comment on the statements of other military personnel, in particular, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhnyi – about possible attack on Kyiv in winter. Also, Budanov’s press service “under wartime conditions” removed our questions about “cotton” in Engels and in general on the territory of Russia, the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the current operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

On what are the forecasts of the head of the GUR based on the liberation of Crimea, how many massive missile strikes is Russia capable of and is it really Oleksiy Arestovich served in intelligence, – in Budanov’s interview for


– What to expect this winter in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war?

– A fundamental change in the situation is not expected in the near future. There are a number of objective reasons for this. Russia is now at a dead end, and the only place where it is still “trying to try” to advance is Bakhmut. There are no particular successes in this direction. Since August [росіяни] it is constantly said that Bakhmut is almost captured. As you can see, it is already the end of December.

The only place where they try to concentrate their forces is a little north of Bakhmut and in the direction of Zaporizhzhia.

But we do not see the real ability to achieve something. The Russians have already made several attempts at small local offensives. All of them were discovered in advance and ended in nothing for them.

“Therefore, we do not expect a fundamental change in the situation on the part of the Russian Federation now. I will not comment on our actions.”

– Even mobilizedwhich are undergoing combat coordination, will not change it?

– Fundamentally, they cannot change anything.

Before February 24, you were almost the only one in the military and political leadership of the country who openly predicted full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now you are almost the only one who talks about Crimea already in the summer. What are your predictions based on?

– Your question is quite strange for me. That the information you hear from me is different from the information you may hear from any other person is perfectly normal. I am the head of military intelligence and chairman of the intelligence committee [при президентові]. All information comes to me. I rely on the data and analytics we have. And who can know the answers to global questions, except intelligence?

In order to go out on administrative boundaries of 1991 (Budanov called this is the first stage of ending the war. – Ed.), we need weapons, lots of weapons. Instead, it looks like the Western partners are giving us weapons only for defense. You don’t have that impression?

– There is fruitful cooperation with our Western partners, we talk a lot about the specific nomenclature and names of the weapons we need. All this is in the process of being resolved.

We expect that, in addition to the significant amounts already provided to us, the Western world will intensify the supply of weapons that will help us speed up the task of defeating the Russian Federation.

– We saw a map of “dismembered” Russia in your office. On it, Kursk, Belgorod Oblasts and Kuban are circled as part of Ukraine with a black marker. Is this the next stage after entering the borders in 1991?

– Everyone sees what they want to see.

Maybe it’s just a broad marker. And maybe not.

– In the American mass media and publications of Western analysts recently noticeably increased reservations regarding the military liberation of Crimea. For some reason, they consider it an exclusively diplomatic story. For them, the borders on February 23 (perhaps with the liberation of Donbas) are the limit. And Crimea is a red rag. What can you say to these warnings?

– I am not interested in listening to the opinions of some people who do not reflect the position of the Ukrainian people. I have the opposite opinion.

We will bring back all the lost territories.

Ukraine is a country recognized within the borders of 1991. Whoever does not agree with this – does not agree with the world order that has existed since the end of the Second World War and with the new principles of the UN.

“Crimea will be returned by a combination of force and diplomacy. But nothing will happen without strength. Our units will go there with weapons in hand.”

– Does the Main Directorate of Intelligence have agents inside Russia and did their number increase with the beginning of the great war?

– Strange question. We receive money for this. Where do we get the information from? From Telegram channels?

– With the beginning of the Great War, did this work become more active? Perhaps there is a part of Russians who do not agree with the war – and they cooperate?

– Exactly. At completely different levels, this number of people has increased, and with it our access to information of various levels: from socio-political to purely military issues. It also gives you an answer to why what I say is sometimes different from what other people say.

Kyrylo Budanov: Our units will enter Crimea with weapons in hand

– And how many traitors within the GUR have been discovered since February 24?

– We did not find any.

– Didn’t find it or didn’t look for it?

– As it is, they didn’t look for it. Our internal security is constantly working. Examples of improper attitude to, let’s say, the preservation of state secrets – there are all kinds of cases. But in most cases, it is official carelessness when someone can forward some information by messenger. And it becomes the property of the enemy who intercepts this signal. Such cases happen, unfortunately.

This is a common problem of all our authorities.


– How much longer does Russia have the opportunity to launch massive regular missile strikes on Ukraine and our infrastructure?

– The remaining number of rockets – if we take their calculations purely mathematically – will be enough with their intensity in a salvo of 70-75 rockets on average for two or three times. And in principle, they will end altogether.

If you look at the intensity of Russia’s missile attacks, they carried out these terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure objects at first once a week. Then – once every 10 days. Then once every two weeks. Now it is even longer.

“This period of time is due to only one problem: the rapid reduction of the missile arsenal of the Russian Federation. Their industry unable to cover the amount they spend. Despite all their efforts, this is unreal.”

– Were they able to reconfigure the production of new missiles? Tsaplienko, referring to “spies”, writes that Russia allegedly plans to increase the annual production of, for example, X-101 fourfold, to 467 (from 56 at present).

– Ask Mr. Tsaplienko where he got these numbers from. I remember that they dream of producing 20 sea-based Kalibr missiles per month. Calculate how much work is required to ensure a single salvo. Yes, the X-101, X-555, and Kalibr are also in the volley. But here are the statistics for you – count. “Iskanders” are almost not produced.

– Russian dictator Putin announced plans for the development of the nuclear triad and Sarmat missiles at the collegium of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation last week…

– You can not continue. He has been announcing this for two years: “Sarmat”, all to radioactive ashes. Just analyze the last two years. They end each year with the fact that “Sarmat” is almost ready, undergoing the final preparations for being put on combat duty.

Photo –

– And why do Russians protect “Daggers” so much?

– So, as far as I remember, there were 47 of them at the beginning of the war. During this time they were able to make a few while there were spare parts. It’s not serious. You can scare the world with the fact that you have a “Dagger”. But when you start using them for real – what’s next? You can make 47 shots. For understanding, more than 900 “Iskanders” were used. What is 47?

– So for them “Daggers” is a technologically unrealistic story?

– It is almost impossible to produce them now. They can’t get much kit because of the sanctions. They do parallel imports, but this makes it very difficult and increases the delivery time of these parts.

And some of them, in spite of everything, they still can’t get.


– In addition to missiles, what else does Russia lack for an intensive war? Is it possible for them to experience technical starvation due to sanctions?

– And he already is. The Russian army faces almost identical problems that we face. Only we have been since March, and they have been around since the beginning of autumn. Just as we have a problem with artillery shells, which we are solving thanks to our partners, this is how it started with them. Just as we had problems with high-explosive fragmentation shells for tanks, so did they. The same applies to anti-aircraft missiles.

“Now, the Russians are also looking all over the world for where to buy 122 and 152 mm projectiles, tank high-explosive shells and rockets for the Grads and Hurricanes.”

– Are there countries that can help them?

– There are certain countries, but in many cases they sell through third countries.

– At the beginning of December, Russia reported on strengthening cooperation with Iran. Will this somehow affect the Russian-Ukrainian war?

– Everyone has already seen and heard these flying “mopeds”. Someone may have even felt it on themselves. These drones were handed over. Will they go further? [до ракет] – the question is open. Everyone is working to prevent this from happening. And Iran itself realized that handing it over to Russia so easily is not accepted by the world. Even the world with which they are used to communicate normally.

– That is, except for “mopeds”, Russia does not receive anything from Iran?

– In addition to “mopeds” Shahed-136 and Shahed-131. There was a large Mohajer-6, similar to Bayraktar in tactical and technical characteristics. They are trying to buy ammunition from them and want the Iranians to sell ballistic missiles. However, Iran never handed over a single missile.

– And China?

– China has not transferred any weapons either. And will not convey, as far as we understand.


– Ukraine is currently assembling a fleet sea ​​drones-kamikaze. Should we expect new “cotton” in the Black Sea?

– One of the reasons why the Russian fleet cannot operate normally is weather conditions. The weather is not very favorable for the activity of ships. For the use of water drones – not so much either. When there will be favorable conditions, I think their use will be continued.

– How many enemy equipment and positions were detected with the help “people’s satellite” (another volunteer project. – Ed.)?

– I have no answer. It simply does not exist. We use a lot of spacecraft. It all goes into the general flow.

– Did Oleksiy Arestovych really serve in the GUR?

– Once upon a time, as far as I remember, I served here.

– So it’s not a fake?

– It was a long time ago, we need to upload the data. As far as I remember – yes.

– How many guests were evacuated from the Crimean Tatar “Musafiru” because of your lunch with the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Emine Japarova?

– None.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Dzaparova and Budanov at the Musafir restaurant, December 14, 2022 (photo by Dzaparova)

– And how did your guards react when you said that you were going to “Musafir”?

– What is the problem? We needed to talk. I sometimes go to the store. Do you think the mall is closing for me to come in? No.

Of course, I always have officers with me, but I’m not paranoid.

– Where do you recommend going to the sea on vacation in the summer of 2023?

– I will advise you to go to the Crimea. This is the pearl of Ukraine, which has been waiting for Ukrainian tourists for a long time.

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