Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence (HUR) personally takes part in missions despite those around him actively trying to dissuade him to do so, one of his colleagues has told Kyiv Post.

In an exclusive interview, HUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov said his boss is “personally engaged in very many operations” as he “has relevant experience and he's a real combat general.”

Yusov added: “You should have no doubt about it: very often people try to dissuade him, but whenever he feels it's worth doing, he does it.

“He's a real team leader and yes, there are situations that require direct, personal involvement.”

While many of the details about Budanov’s participation in military missions remain classified, details of some have made their way into the public realm.

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The most well-known was the special operation to liberate the village of Ruska Lozova in Kharkiv Oblast at the end of April 2022.

Members of HUR’s Kraken Regiment were the first to enter the village and, in March of this year, details of the mission were reported with one of the commanders involved saying: “We can talk about this now – Kyrylo Budanov came for this mission…He took part in the assault.”

Yusov told Kyiv Post this makes perfect sense given Budanov’s extensive military career.

“It's an advantage for the HUR to be headed by a man of strategic thinking and planning and systemic knowledge,” he said.

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“And at the same time, a man who can physically take part in special operations together with special force personnel and accomplish important missions at the highest level of competence.”

Budanov was appointed head of HUR in August 2020 and, before that, took part in special forces operations including a landing in occupied Crimea in 2016.

More recently, he reportedly convinced 19 Russian soldiers to surrender by talking to them over the radio on a recent mission.

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Since taking over at HUR, Budanov has cultivated an enigmatic image, saying little publicly but making sure that when he does, it packs a punch.

“It’s necessary to weigh every word,” Yusov says. “Sometimes, something that’s not expressed verbally is expressed in body language.

“Of course, he wouldn’t bang his shoe against the stand as Khrushchev did in the UN.”

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