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Ukraine's intelligence chief recalls first few days of full-scale invasion

Monday, 16 October 2023, 17:01
Ukraine's intelligence chief recalls first few days of full-scale invasion
Kyrylo Budanov. Photo: NAZARII MAZALIUK, Ukrainska Pravda

Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU), moved into the building of Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence on the eve of the full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022, and spoke with Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, at 03:30.

Source: the latest episode of Ukrainska Pravda’s podcast 24 February Reconstructed

Quote from Budanov: "The Russians kept postponing the date. For the last two weeks there, they kept pushing it back and forth by a day, or two. But on the 23rd, at around 14:30, it seems, we received clear information that the start would be at four in the morning and exactly how [it would start]. This information was passed to the president. He gave the order. But just count it – there was not much time left until four in the morning."


Details: Budanov said he and his wife moved into his office in the DIU building on 23 February.

Quote: "We went to a grocery store in Petrivka [a neighbourhood located in Kyiv's Obolonskyi district] in the evening. I remember it well. We bought groceries there, my wife and I. We moved into my office, went to bed, talked and waited. Then I dozed off for a while. And the Head of the President’s Office called me at around 03:30 and said: ‘Well, it's already 03:30, and everything seems calm. Maybe it won’t happen?’

I say: ‘Well, let's hope for the best, but I doubt it.’ And so we talked with him until almost four o'clock."

Details: Budanov also says that it was important to him that his information about the invasion turned out to be true.

Quote: "For me, you have to understand, this was also a challenge. Because if I, as the head of the special service, had given an incorrect report, it would be shameful for me.

In reality, the first attacks were at around 04:20 because the missiles were already in the air, and they kept flying for some time. That's it, I exhaled; now we need to start working on the next issue."

Read this English translation of our podcast 24 February Reconstructed for more information about how the fronts arose and moved on 24 February; who heroically stopped the Russians’ advance and how they did it; and how our cities and the country as a whole recovered from the initial shock and went on the defensive.

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