Russia does not have the ability to launch “another attempt for a serious offensive anywhere in Ukraine,” according to Kyiv’s intelligence chief.
Speaking on April 24 in an interview with Yahoo News, published on Saturday, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, said that “as of today, Russia has no military, economic or political potential to create another attempt for a serious offensive anywhere in Ukraine.”
Budanov claimed that Russia’s missile stocks are dwindling, but added that Moscow is still “completely capable of waging serious defensive operations.”
“This is the very problem we are about to face,” he said. “They are trying to accumulate certain stocks and have them ready in order to try to disrupt our offensive, but the truth is that they have taken their stocks almost to zero.”
Ukraine has long been expected to launch a spring counteroffensive against Russian forces, although Kyiv has remained tight-lipped about its military strategy.
Russia is likely focusing on logistics and other considerations for “defensive operations” across Ukraine in anticipation of this concerted push from Kyiv, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said on Saturday.
It is not known what form the counteroffensive will take, but Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said at the end of April that “the preparations are coming to an end, as in addition to weapons and military equipment, there must be training for our military personnel in how to use them.”
“We have received state-of-the-art systems,” Reznikov told the media.
In early May, the head of the Wagner Group paramilitary outfit fighting on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said he believed “the advance of the Ukrainian army has already begun.”
“I believe it will all enter an active phase in the very near future,” Prigozhin said, according to a Reuters translation of an audio clip. “It could be a matter of days.”
The mercenary chief previously called the counteroffensive “inevitable.” Kyiv has long said it is committed to retaking Russian-controlled territory, including the annexed Crimean peninsula, which Moscow has claimed since 2014.
But Petr Pavel, the president of the Czech Republic, warned in an interview published on Sunday that Ukraine’s leadership “still have a feeling that they do not have everything to start successfully an operation.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Pavel said it “will be extremely harmful to Ukraine if this counteroffensive fails, because they will not have another chance, at least not this year.”
“The expectation from our counteroffensive campaign is overestimated in the world,” Reznikov told The Washington Post in an interview published on Saturday.
Newsweek has reached out to Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment via email.