Ukrainian Intelligence: Crimea Reconquered in 2023. How can they do it?

Lorenzo Bagnato


31/01/2023 - 15:06

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Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s intelligence, explained his predictions for 2023. And they involve Ukrainian victory through Crimea.

Ukrainian Intelligence: Crimea Reconquered in 2023. How can they do it?

In a bold interview with the Washington Post, Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate Kyrylo Budanov laid down his predictions for the war in 2023. Some seem too optimistic and uncertain to be true, while others give an interesting insight on the war and its outcome.

Budanov is the same official that predicted a new mobilization from the Russian army by January, a projection that turned out to be false. For the moment, Russia has yet to announce another general mobilization.

According to Budanov’s interview on Tuesday, 326.000 Russians are currently fighting in Ukraine. This probably means that the mobilization announced in September reached its full scale. The mercenary fighters of the Wagner Group, currently in the midst of the assault against Bakhmut, should also be added to the total.

Regarding Bakhmut, Budanov said that it is the main Russian objective for now. The attack from Belarus, which Western intelligence feared at the beginning of the year, will likely not take place. Indeed, such an assault always seemed a terrible idea for Russia. They’d be repeating the same mistake they did at the beginning of the war, this time facing a better prepared and equipped Ukrainian army.

According to Budanov, Russia scratched plans for this assault, focusing instead on holding the Donbass.

The reconquest of Crimea

A major point in Budanov’s interview is Ukraine’s stance on Crimea. The peninsula, occupied by Russia since 2014, is now in sight of the Ukrainian army after the reconquest of Kherson.

US generals have already proposed sending to Ukraine long-range missiles for a preventive assault against the Russian forces in Crimea. With Western tanks, which should arrive in Ukraine in the following months, they could even afford to move forward to reconquer the peninsula.

It all started in Crimea in 2014, and it will all end there,” Budanov said. He also added that Russia will not react with a nuclear assault were they to lose Crimea. “Carrying out a nuclear strike will result in not just a military defeat for Russia but the collapse of Russia. And they know this very well.

However, re-taking Crimea is no easy feat. Russia is currently attacking Vuhledar, a crucial crossroad in the South of Ukraine that would otherwise be used as a base for the attack against Crimea.

Furthermore, Ukraine is depleting much of their resources in the defense of Bakhmut and are probably not planning a full scale attack for the short-term.

Budanov is nevertheless sure that Crimea will be reconquered in 2023. While it is true that some major development is likely to happen in 2023, possibly leading to the end of the war, it is never a good idea to say that “It will be over by Christmas”.


# Russia
# War

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