Ukraine War Likely Ends With Putin's Death: Official

A major Ukrainian official implied that Russia's invasion of the country can only end with the death of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's Defense Intelligence Chief, spoke with The New Voice of Ukraine in an interview published on Monday. Budanov said it was very likely that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will result in Putin's demise, and said that his country's victory is assured.

"Don't worry, Ukraine will win," Budanov said.

He went on to say, "Leaving [Putin] a way to retreat is one of the strategies, but it is almost unrealistic. He is a war criminal for the whole world. This is his end, he drove himself into a dead end."

This proclamation came at the end of the extended interview. As such, Budanov did not explain how he believes that Putin might be killed, whether it be through a planned act by the Ukrainian military or as a result of a plan from within the Russian government, as has been rumored in the past.

putin death ukraine invasion
A leading Ukrainian official on Monday said that Russian invasion can only end with the death of Vladimir Putin. Above, Putin at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

What was once predicted to be a decisive victory for Russia in Ukraine has now dragged on for over two months, with none of the former's strategic goals met. Worries have mounted that Putin, growing more desperate the longer the invasion lasts, will consider more extreme measures.

The Kremlin is reportedly aiming to seize the separatist region of Donbas in Eastern Ukraine by Victory Day on May 9, a Russian holiday commemorating its victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. As a major day celebrating Russian national pride, failing to achieve military goals by then would be viewed as humiliating for Putin. With only a week to go as of Tuesday, Russia's prospects are increasingly dire.

"This is their goal, but it will not be, they do not have time," Budanov said about Russia potentially seizing Donbas by May 9. "In no way do they have time."

Some analysts have predicted that Putin could use the holiday as a pretense for a significant escalation of force in Ukraine, according to Yahoo News. Budanov said that the military is likely determining what it has available for potential mobilization in a week.

"Yes, they are preparing," Budanov said. "Now the Rosrezerv has begun to check what they actually have in stock, and calculate that they can give out on mobilization orders. This is an absolutely necessary step before the start of real mobilization."

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.