Only Vladimir Putin's death will end war, Ukraine top spy chief says amid health rumours

    Major-General Kyrylo Budanov has said the Russian leader's death is inevitable during the course of the invasion before predicting that the country would declare mass-mobilisation on May 9

    The invasion of Ukraine will only come to an end with the death of Vladimir Putin, the country's top military spy chief has said.

    Major-General Kyrylo Budanov has said that the Russian leader has effectively signed his death warrant by ordering his troops into Ukraine.

    Boldly predicting a Ukrainian victory at the same time as warning that mass-mobilisation in Russia was near, Major-General Budanov issued this veiled threat on Monday evening.

    “Leaving him a way to retreat is one of the strategies, but it is almost unrealistic,” he told The New Voice of Ukraine when asked if Putin would survive the war.

    “He is a war criminal for the whole world. This is his end, he drove himself into a dead end. Don't worry, Ukraine will win."

    The Russian leader's death has been predicted

    The Russian leader's death has been predicted ( Image: via REUTERS)

    The Head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate would not be drawn on how the despot would be ousted or assassinated, but did predict that the future of Russia could unfold in one of two ways.

    He said that Russia could be divided into multiple parts following its failure in the invasion, or it could be kept whole, but under new leadership.

    Major-General Budanov went on to suggest that Russia was less than a week away from mass mobilisation, which would see its non-military citizens required to have a direct involvement in the war.

    "Russia has already been enacting covert mobilisation and is preparing to announce a mass mobilisation in the near future," he told NV.

    When asked whether Putin planned to announce the mobilisation on May 9, he said: "Yes, they are preparing."

    In recent weeks Russia watchers have turned their attention to May 9, which is the day the country celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany.

    The Russian invasion has not gone as planned

    The Russian invasion has not gone as planned ( Image: REUTERS)

    While the invasion has not gone as planned - the Ukrainian forces having not only slowed the Russian advance, but forced it to focus on the eastern section of the country - Putin is expected to make some kind of declaration of victory.

    Many military analysts have warned it could also be a key date for escalation in the war, which the Russian leader has claimed is an effort to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

    “They had the main deadline—to have time to finish by April 24… they completely failed him. The second date is to complete the operation at least in Donbas by May 9,” Major-General Budanov said.

    “Putin cannot admit that he is losing to Ukraine."

    The one clear victory the Russians can now claim is in Mariupol, which effectively fell into their hands last week despite the presence of Ukrainian troops in a besieged steelworks.

    The Russian forces have dealt great damage to Ukraine over the past two months

    The Russian forces have dealt great damage to Ukraine over the past two months ( Image: REUTERS)

    Otherwise the invasion has been far slower and much more costly in terms of lives lost than planned.

    According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Russia has lost a quarter of its combat forces deployed in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.

    According to intelligence experts, Russia committed more than 120 battalion tactical groups - some 65 per cent of their entire ground combat strength - and now had around 30 completely out of action.

    "At the start of the conflict, Russia committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65 per cent of its entire ground combat strength," an update from the Defence Intelligence agency reads.

    "It is likely that more than a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective.

    "Some of Russia's most elite units, including VDV airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition. It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces."


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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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