The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, has said he believes that the seizure operation of Kherson, temporarily occupied by Russia, will most likely last until the end of November.

He said this in an interview with The Drive.

According to him, the most trained and most capable Russian units are currently in Kherson. “A large share of them are from airborne troops of the Russian Federation, Russian special operation forces and the naval infantry, so the most capable units that Russia has. Those units form the backbone of the grouping and it’s being strengthened by the mobilized personnel also,” Budanov said.

He added that the combat component of the Russian troops in the Kherson direction is about 40,000 soldiers.

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Budanov also commented on the possible decision by the Russians to blow up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.

“In our assessment, if such a decision is taken, they will only blow up the road that goes over the dam to make it impossible to use for our vehicles and also the water locks of the dam which will cause only a partial ruination of the facility,” he said.

Budanov added that this might happen when Ukrainian troops take Kherson and if the Russians decide to withdraw. “After withdrawal from the west bank [of the Dnipro River], they might turn to doing it to obstruct our advancement to the east bank,” he said.

He also stated that in the current stage there is not a threat of invasion from Belarus, as there are currently only 4,300 Russian troops staying in the country.

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“That grouping is very limited in heavy weapon systems and the majority – about 80% of the grouping – are mobilized personnel,” Budanov said.

However, in his opinion, the situation could change very fast when Russia loses Kherson. That capable grouping in Kherson after the withdrawal from Kherson will partially be relocated to the Zaporizhzhia direction but part of them might move northwards to Belarus and create a threat there, Budanov said. “So we have to be cautious about it,” he said.

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