A senior Ukrainian official has admitted that his country has assassinated “quite a few” Russian civilians who support Putin and his war to assert control of the Donbas region. In an interview with The Times of London, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, who heads Ukraine’s military intelligence service, also promised more attacks are to come.
“We’ve already successfully targeted quite a few people,” said Budanov. He didn’t name any of the victims, but said “there have been well-publicized cases everyone knows about, thanks to the media coverage.”
Since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, several prominent Russian supporters of the invasion — and many innocent bystanders — have been killed or wounded in the campaign.
One of the most prominent such attacks happened last August, when a car bomb killed journalist Darya Dugina — in a possible attempt to kill her father, the political scientist-philosopher Aleksandr Dugin.
Like her father, Darya was a vocal supporter of Putin and his invasion. Both she and her father were sanctioned by the United States after the war began. Given her profile, it’s possible Ukraine may have intentionally murdered her in a sinister two-for-one act of punishment.
Most recently, novelist Zakhar Prielepin was wounded in a May 6 car-bombing, and Russian military blogger Vladen Tatarsky was killed at an April public appearance after a woman presented him a statuette with a bomb concealed inside it. Fifteen others were injured.
For perspective, a hypothetical parallel for this campaign would be Iraq’s intelligence service blowing up Iraq-invasion cheerleaders like Bill Kristol, Jeffrey Goldberg, Ann Coulter and Max Boot in 2003. Ukraine’s targeting of civilians doesn’t merely violate vague “international norms” that Washington pretends to hold dear — they are explicitly war crimes.
What’s more, if one accepts the definition of terrorism as “the intentional use of violence against civilians in order to obtain political aims,” Budanov has implicated Ukraine as a state sponsor of terror — one that’s received $37 billion in US military aid since the war started, and perhaps double that in other assistance.
Budanov isn’t merely an unapologetic terrorist, he’s a boastful one. “These cases have happened and will continue,” he told The Times. Such people will receive a well-deserved punishment, and the appropriate punishment can only be liquidation and I will implement it.”
n a separate interview with a Ukrainian YouTube channel, Budanov implied that any country could be witness to his killing of civilians who say or write the wrong things: “Outright scum will eventually be punished in any country in the world. Only elimination can be a well-deserved punishment for such actions.”
In addition to his brazen confession — which was almost universally ignored by Western media — Budanov told the YouTube host that the “Russian army’s potential for advancing is completely depleted, but it still has a significant defensive potential.”
With Ukraine’s long-awaited and much-hyped counteroffensive still in the wings, Budanov said, “[Russia has] erected a multi-tier defense system. Still, this isn’t the same Russian army that could have been expected to conduct substantial offensive operations.”
Ambitiously and perhaps delusionally envisioning an eviction of Russia’s army from all captured Ukrainian territory, Budanov said his country should seek a 60-mile demilitarized zone inside Russia. “This should be our 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.”