Ukraine’s military intelligence chief says the war with Russia is going so well that it will reach a tipping point in mid-August and end by the end of the year.

It is the most accurate and optimistic prediction by a senior Ukrainian official so far.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Major General Kyrylo Budanov also said that a coup to oust Vladimir Putin is already underway in Russia and that the Russian leader is seriously ill with cancer.

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The general’s office is dark and littered with war and espionage paraphernalia, sandbags stacked on his windows, machine guns stacked on the floor, and a spare rifle magazine on his desk used as a paperweight.

He’s remarkably young for running his country’s military intelligence agency at just 36, and he speaks with the dry precision of his trade.

He showed little emotion, smiling just once as he said in English, “I’m optimistic.”

General Budanov correctly predicted when the Russian invasion would occur when others in his government were publicly skeptical and now says he is confident in predicting its conclusion.

“The breaking point will be in the second half of August.

“Most active combat actions will be over by the end of this year.

“As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost, including Donbas and Crimea.”

Russia’s tactics have not changed despite its shift to the east, he says, and Russia is suffering huge losses, although it would not be affected by Ukrainian casualties.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov

Russia is just a ‘horde of people with guns’

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He said he was not surprised by Russia’s setbacks in the war.

“We know everything about our enemy. We know his plans almost as soon as they are being drawn up.

“Europe sees Russia as a great threat. They are afraid of her aggression.

“We have been fighting Russia for eight years and we can say that this highly publicized Russian power is a myth.

“It’s not as powerful as this one. It’s a horde of people with guns.”

Russian forces have been pushed back almost to the border around Kharkiv, he says, and a recent attack on forces further south trying to cross the Siverskyy Donets caused considerable damage.

Its aftermath has been caught up in dramatic aerial footage.

“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,” General Budanov said.

An aerial view of burned vehicles on the banks of the Siverskyi Donets River in eastern Ukraine in this handout image uploaded on May 12, 2022. Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED FOR A THIRD PARTY.
An aerial view of burned vehicles on the banks of the Siverskyy Donets River in eastern Ukraine

‘Impossible to stop the blow’

General Budanov also told Sky News that defeat in Ukraine would lead to the removal of Russia’s leader and the disintegration of the country.

“Eventually it will lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched and they are moving towards that path.”

Does that mean there’s a coup in the works?

“Yes,” he replied.

“They are moving this way and it is impossible to stop it.”

He claimed that Putin is in “very poor psychological and physical condition and is very ill.”

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The Russian leader has cancer and other illnesses, he says.

He dismissed suggestions that he was spreading propaganda as part of information warfare and was confident in his claims.

“It’s my job, it’s my job, if not me, who will know this?”

Ukrainian officials had previously expressed doubts about Putin’s mental and physical well-being and declared their certainty that he would eventually win, but until this interview, none had been so specific and set a timetable for victory, a sign of their growing confidence in the battlefield. .

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