Ukrainian soldiers fired 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled guns in Donetsk province on September 13. Photo: Reuters

Ukrainian intelligence leaders assess that Russia has enough economic resources and weapons to prolong the war until 2025 or 2026.

“In terms of economics, Russia is capable of fighting until 2025. In terms of means and weapons, the country can last until 2026. Russia has gathered abundant human resources capable of maintaining long term,” Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR), said in an October 12 interview with Ukrainska Pravda.

However, Budanov emphasized that Ukraine is “not a small country” and has human potential not inferior to Russia.

In previous interviews, Budanov said that Ukraine had a chance to end the conflict before the end of 2023. Now he admits the counteroffensive “did not go according to plan”.

“There are objective and subjective causes; everything is complicated. I cannot discuss it publicly because most of the explanations are state secrets. Over time, all of this will become clear”, Budanov added.

He predicted that Russia would continue its strategy of attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure this winter, threatening the country’s electricity sector.

The GUR leader warned that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could affect Western aid to Kyiv and that the world could soon face “a war on a global scale.”

Ukraine launched a counterattack campaign in June, but the speed was not considered as expected due to encountering Russia’s fortified defenses. President Volodymyr Zelensky last month admitted that Ukraine’s counteroffensive was slowing down due to Russia’s air superiority. He criticized Western countries for not providing Ukraine with enough necessary weapons for the campaign.

Admiral Tony Radakin, commander of the British military, also said that the conflict in Ukraine could last “for a while longer” and warned that the West should “adjust” its expectations in the near future about the counter-attack campaign. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Ukraine had lost about 90,000 soldiers, 1,900 armored vehicles and 557 tanks since launching the counteroffensive, although no “significant results” have been achieved.

On October 11, the Russian army announced that it had penetrated Ukraine’s defense line near the city of Donetsk, thereby closing the siege on the strategic city of Avdeevka. Ukrainian forces defending Avdeevka once warned that this place could become “the second Bakhmut,” referring to the city that Russia took control of in May after a months-long offensive campaign.