Budanov hints at plan to increase strikes on Russian critical infrastructure

There is a “hypothetical” plan to increase the number of Ukrainian strikes on Russian critical infrastructure and military facilities within Russia, said the chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, in an interview with CNN published on Jan. 31.

Multiple drone strikes on oil depots in Russia were reported in January, including in Krasnodar, Bryansk, Oryol, and Leningrad oblasts. Kyiv often does not comment on alleged attacks inside Russia.

Budanov also did not explicitly acknowledge Ukraine’s responsibility in the recent spate of strikes within Russia but said that it was “quite possible” Ukraine was involved.

He added that a “hypothetical” plan exists to increase the tempo of such strikes, potentially including “all the major critical infrastructure facilities and military infrastructure facilities of the Russian Federation.”

Beyond the impact on Russia’s military capacity and industrial infrastructure, the strikes expose Russian civilians to the reality of the full-scale war, Budanov said.

They finally “see the real picture (of war). They see burning oil depots, destroyed buildings in factories and plants, and so on. This is all beneficial.”

Budanov said that Ukraine and Russia have relatively similar drone capabilities, but Russia has a significant advantage with artillery and ammunition.

Ukraine has received modern artillery systems from its Western allies, but ammunition is increasingly in short supply as the EU has faltered in its goal to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells by March 2024.

Russia has upped its own domestic military production capacity and likely received a significant amount of ammunition from its allies.

North Korea has reportedly provided Moscow with at least 1 million shells, as well as short-range ballistic missiles and other weaponry. North Korean shells have already allegedly been used on the battlefield in Ukraine, military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusov said on Jan. 31.

While the condition of North Korean shells may be questionable, it is “not so much the quality as the quantity,” said Budanov.

“Shells are one of the most decisive factors in this war,” he added.

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