Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov predicts how long Vladimir Putin’s army can last in the war

As Russian forces enter the third month of war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has only enough supplies and equipment to support him in the war effort for another 12 months, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

And by the end of the year, Putin’s military will run out of juices, Ukraine’s top military spy Kyrylo Budanov said in a newly released interview.

“The active phase should go to the maximum decline by the end of the year,” Budanov told local newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda. “Russia has 12 months of resources to wage a normal war.”

The Russian military has lost vast numbers of personnel and equipment over the past few months as Putin, with myriad logistical problems, launched attack after attack on the Ukrainian people. As of Tuesday, Russian forces had lost 29,350 soldiers, 1,302 tanks, 3,194 armored vehicles and 606 artillery systems, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The war effort has been haphazard at best in several departments: earlier this month, Russian soldiers asked their mothers to send them money so they could buy better equipment, according to phone calls intercepted by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU). And Russian troops have abandoned their gear, sabotaged their equipment and complained about their first-aid kits from the start.

But that accurate prediction may not be entirely accurate, said Ronald Marks, a former special assistant to the CIA’s deputy director of central intelligence for military affairs, noting that Moscow still appears able to buy for the war effort and to provide replenishment.

“Nobody has ever lost a war because they ran out of ammunition. If he can’t build it, he’ll buy it somewhere,” Marks said. “There is still enough oil money.”

And yet, it is not clear how long Putin’s forces will last, and given that Putin has already suffered so many casualties, the war could enter a longer-term war phase in which Putin aims to inflict more pain on Ukrainians than he already has has, Marks said. In a sign that Putin is likely to step in and try to make Ukrainians bleed, Russia has already begun bringing in barrel bomb experts from Syria who could help the Russian military inflict much more harm on civilians, according to a Guardian report.

“If you don’t win – and they aren’t – the only thing you’re going to do is inflict pain,” Marks told The Daily Beast, referring to the barrel bombs. “It’s a way of raising the bar and terrorizing the populace.”

US intelligence has already predicted that Russia’s war effort in Ukraine has entered a protracted phase.

“It will end in one thing: the return of our occupied territories.”

US Defense Intelligence Director Scott Berrier told lawmakers earlier this month that the war had reached a “patout” stage, suggesting the two sides may still be at odds for some time.

And although Ukraine has insisted it wants to retake all of the territory Russia has captured, the matchup between Ukraine and Russia could be headed for a kind of truce à la North and South Korea, which are technically still at war, said Marks.

“I think we’re going to a stalemate in the Korean War. I don’t think Ukrainians have enough resources to push them back out of Donbass even if we gave them to everyone. I don’t think the Russians have the wherewithal to take all of Ukraine,” Marks told The Daily Beast. “I think what you’re eventually going to get is some kind of truce that’s looming on a border where the Russians still have a… part of Ukraine.”

According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, however, Putin’s exact game plan is not entirely clear for the time being.

“In terms of his overall strategy, that’s unknown,” Austin told reporters Monday.

Budanov, the top official of Ukraine’s military intelligence, is clear on one thing: Ukraine plans to retake all of the country that Russia has captured or annexed in recent years, including Crimea.

“It will end in one thing: the return of our occupied territories,” Budanov said. Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov predicts how long Vladimir Putin’s army can last in the war


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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