Russia is exhausting its resources and ‘a reckoning is coming,’ says Ukraine’s spy chief
Thibault Spirlet – September 18, 2023
- Russia is running out of military resources, Ukraine’s spy chief told The Economist.
- Kyrylo Budanov cited Russia’s struggling mobilization and Putin’s meeting with Kim Jong Un.
- Budanov predicts Russia’s supply of weapons will dry up by 2026, if not sooner.
Russia is running out of reserve troops and weapons it desperately needs to sustain its fighting in Ukraine, Ukraine’s intelligence chief said.
“Contrary to what the Russian Federation declares, it has absolutely no strategic reserve,” Kyrylo Budanov told The Economist in an interview published on Sunday.
Budanov cited Russia’s underperforming troops, its poor-quality equipment, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un, as evidence for his claim.
“If everything is fine and Russia has enough resources, why are they looking for them all over the world? The answer is obvious. There is nothing to extract any more,” he said.
Budanov pointed to the “premature” deployment of Russia’s 25th Combined Arms Army in early August, which he said had only 80% of the manpower and 55% of the equipment it needed to operate effectively.
The UK Ministry of Defence also reported earlier this month that Russia had likely deployed the 25th early, in August instead of December.
It’s likely that it was “rushed into action early” as Russia “continues to grapple with an over-stretched force along the front and Ukraine continues its counter-offensive on three different axes,” the MOD said.
While Russia is reportedly poised to step up its mobilization drive, Budanov told The Economist that head count is the only obvious advantage that Russia retains over Ukraine.
When it comes to Russian human resources “the quality is low, but the quantity is sufficient,” he said.
That’s not the case for military hardware. Given what he called Russia’s dwindling military resources, Budanov predicted that Russia’s economy will survive only until 2025, and its flow of weapons will dry up in 2026, or “perhaps earlier,” he told the outlet.
“A reckoning is coming,” Burdanov said, per The Economist.
Later in the interview, Burdanov acknowledged that Ukraine also risks running out of resources, but he insisted his country has Western allies ready to supply them with aid, whereas Russia is dependent on itself.
While some Ukrainian officials have said they are noticing a “shift” in their partners’ readiness to continue supplying support at the same level, Budanov said he had “good intelligence” about realities in the West.
“Warehouses in Western countries are not completely empty. No matter what anyone says,” he added. “We can see this very clearly as an intelligence agency.”