- Ukraine wants a demilitarized border zone up to 60 miles into Russian territory, its intel chief said.
- He said it would prevent future conflict and “shouldn’t be an issue” if Russia doesn’t plan attacks.
- Major-General Kyrylo Budanov also said Ukraine had “successfully targeted” some Russian propagandists.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service said Kyiv wants to set up a demilitarized border zone up to 60 miles into Russia.
Major-General Kyrylo Budanov said that preventing any future conflict with Russia would be the goal. “If they are not going to attack and don’t decide they want revenge in a couple of years, this shouldn’t be an issue,” The Times of London reported.
It is not clear how or when such a zone could be created, especially with the current conflict showing little sign of ending.
Budanov added that Ukraine wants the demilitarized zone even if Russian President Vladimir Putin is overthrown, as it would help conserve peace in the future.
Budanov was also asked by Ukrainian YouTube channel Rizni Lyudi if Ukraine had killed any Russian “propagandists” since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
He confirmed that targeted killings had taken place, without comment on any specific incidents.
“We’ve already successfully targeted quite a few people. There have been well-publicized cases everyone knows about, thanks to the media coverage,” he responded, according to the Times’ translation.
Budanov said he couldn’t comment on any specific examples, adding: “We’re not going to confirm or deny any information whatsoever,” according to Meduza’s translation.
Military bloggers and other media figures in Russia have urged Putin and other officials to launch large-scale attacks in Ukraine, and to use more brutal tactics against Ukrainian citizens and soldiers.
Budanov said the Kremlin had “invested so much in this propaganda machine that it began to influence them in the end.”
He said that his agents had targeted Russians who commit war crimes against Ukraine. “These cases have happened and will continue. Such people will receive a well-deserved punishment, and the appropriate punishment can only be liquidation and I will implement it,” he said, according to The Times.
Several high-profile Russians who supported the invasion have been killed or injured since it began.
These include military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who was killed in an explosion in April in a Saint Petersburg cafe. The Kremlin blamed Ukraine, which denied any involvement. Russia’s foreign minister praised Tatarsky after his death, saying he died “boldly” and was “doing his duty.”
Darya Dugina, a pro-war Russian TV commentator and daughter of an influential Russian nationalist thinker, was also killed in a car bomb last August. Russia blamed Ukraine, which denied any involvement.
Reports in October said the US believed Dugina may have been killed on the orders of the Ukrainian government.
Budanov said in another interview that Ukrainians weren’t responsible for recent attacks on infrastructure in Russia.
He told a different Ukrainian YouTube channel that those attacks, which included attacks on Russian oil facilities, were the actions of unhappy Russians.
He said they were carried out “almost 100 per cent by citizens of the Russian Federation,” The Times reported.
Budanov also said Ukraine considers Putin a legitimate target, but that it is not trying to take him out.