On September 7, as Ukraine commemorates Military Intelligence Day, Kyrylo Budanov, has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

 

The head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) has built an enigmatic reputation since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion, saying little publicly but making sure when he does that it packs a punch.

 

Kyiv Post has taken the opportunity to revisit and celebrate some of the moments that have made him somewhat of a worldwide legend.

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1) THE CANDLES

 

As mentioned earlier, September 7 marks Ukraine's Military Intelligence Day. The newly-promoted Budanov marked this occasion with a cake.

 

He proceeds to blow out the candles, accompanied by the sound of an explosion. A faint smile graces his face as a festive melody fills the scene.

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Towards the end, a message appears to the Ukrainian people:

 

"Happy Military Intelligence Day! Make a wish."

2) THE MAP

 

For an extended period, a world map adorned the walls of Budanov's office, each border redrawn with a bold black marker.

The Russian Federation's vast expanse had been reconfigured; the Kursk, Belgorod, and Kuban regions were now marked as part of Ukraine, the Kaliningrad region was boldly stamped with "FRG," Karelia and the northwest bore the letter "F," Caucasus was annexed by Ichkeria, the central regions and a segment of Siberia united to form the "country" under the name "TSAR", while the Kuril Islands had been ceded to Japan.

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When questioned if this map represented a future plan post-Ukraine victory, the head of the HUR responded cryptically: "Perception is a mirror reflecting desires. Perhaps it's just a broad marker. Or maybe it's not."

 

Kremlin propagandists reacted with indignation at seeing a Russia dismembered on Budanov's office wall. On the federal TV channel, guests of the propagandist claimed that this depiction might foretell Russia's fate in the event of defeat.

Subsequently, Budanov handed over the map to showman and volunteer Serhii Prytula, who, in turn, auctioned it off for a staggering 14 million hryvnias, with the proceeds dedicated to our fund for acquiring 5 EOS UAV complexes.

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3) THE SILENCE

 

On June 11th, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense's Main Intelligence Directorate shared a puzzling video featuring Budanov. In the video, he simply sat in his office, and stared into the camera without speaking and even blinking.

 

The video was accompanied by a short message: "Plans work best when kept secret."  This mysterious message quickly spread on social media.

The purpose behind this video was to remind people to remain tight-lipped about Ukraine’s summer offensive. Still, speculations appeared, ranging from potential connections to the Ukrainian army's counteroffensive strategies to anticipating new, unexpected initiatives from the HUR.

 

As Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for military intelligence, told NV, his boss was using his silence to hint at upcoming actions by Ukrainian forces, the results of which would become visible and clear in the near future.

 

"Additionally, I recommend paying attention to the symbols featured in the video," Yusov added.

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4) THE FROG

 

In the exciting world of Kirill Budanov's interviews, Ukrainians couldn't help but wonder why they once spotted a frog casually chilling behind him.

 

Some users decided to dive into the deep end and search for froggy messages. They were convinced that this frog was like the James Bond of frogs, secretly holding classified info.

Meanwhile, the internet erupted with laughter, as they speculated that Budanov's froggy companion might just be the ultimate insider.

 

"This frog is the amphibian equivalent of a lieutenant colonel, having not one, not two, but seven secret exits to the enemy's rear," people ironically wrote on social media.  

 

5) BALD, BUT NOT DEAD

 

Following a Russian missile strike on Kyiv on May 29, social media was overflown by reports that Kyrylo Budanov was killed or seriously injured.

 

The conspiracy theory has since grown after Budanov appeared in a joint photo with Japan's ambassador to Ukraine, Matsuda Kuninori, on June 20.

Being completely bald in that photo, he sparked a conspiracy theory suggesting that he was simply photoshopped into the picture. Russian experts have suggested that the image is the result of the generation by a neural network.

 

In an exclusive comment to Kyiv Post, Budanov finally addressed the conspiracy theory, saying: “Now in Ukraine, a special detachment of immortal commanders is being created – Valery Zaluzhny, myself, Stepan Bandera, Symon Petliura, Ivan Mazepa. 

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“Therefore, the Russians and their propagandists will still have a lot of work to do in a nervous, hysterical environment.

 

“A squad of immortals will come in the middle of the night to the dreams of Russian citizens who wanted to take over Ukraine and give them nightmares.”

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