Ukraine’s spy chief Kyrylo Budanov has claimed Vladimir Putin’s plan to capture Kyiv in a new ground offensive was a baseless bluff. There has been speculation the Russian leader could launch a second attempt to seize the capital in a new year offensive involving tens of thousands of reservists being trained in Russia. However, Mr Budanov dismissed these plans, claiming the Kremlin was attempting to make Ukraine divert troops from their current battlefields in the south and east of the country.
Earlier this month, officials had warned that President Putin could launch a new attack using Belarus at the launch base.
However, the military intelligence head revealed that these threats were empty, pointing out that a train loaded with Russian soldiers recently stopped in a location close to the Belarus-Ukraine border.
However, the train returned to Russia hours later with everyone still on board.
Mr Budanov told the BBC: “As of now, I don’t see any signs of preparations for an invasion of Kyiv or northern areas from Belarus.”
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He also said that Russia will soon struggle to continue its recent wave of missile strikes against civilian energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
The military intelligence chief said: “They will try to continue these attacks.
“Can they do this for long? No, because they do not have many missiles left.
“Their defence industry is incapable of producing enough missiles to sustain the same scale of strikes.”
He also cast doubt on fears that Iran would send more ‘kamikaze drones’ to Moscow.
The latest wave of Russian missile strikes this week had largely targeted the recently liberated city of Kherson.
Overnight, Russia launched 16 ‘kamikaze drones’ at targets around the country, but Ukrainian air defences destroyed all of them.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said there were no casualties from the overnight strikes.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Moscow could be planning to plunge Ukraine into darkness before the New Year’s Eve holiday tomorrow.