says intelligence chief, Putin wants ‘Korean scenario’ for Ukraine

says intelligence chief, Putin wants ‘Korean scenario’ for Ukraine

Putin wants ‘Korean scenario’ for Ukraine, says intelligence chief Ukrainian general says Moscow unable to ‘swallow’ country but faces guerrilla warfare if it tries to divide it Russia-Ukraine war: latest updates A Ukrainian serviceman stands in a heavily damaged building in Stoyanka, Ukraine. A Ukrainian serviceman stands in a heavily damaged building in Stoyanka, Ukraine.

Photograph: Vadim Ghirdă/AP Daniel Boffey in Lviv Sun 27 Mar 2022 15.28 BST Vladimir Putin wants to split Ukraine into two, emulating the post-war division between North and South Korea, the invaded country’s military intelligence chief has said. Gen Kyrylo Budanov, who predicted Russia’s invasion as far back as November, said Moscow had been unable to “swallow” the country but faced guerrilla warfare should it seek to split it.

His warning came as Leonid Pasechnik, the leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic in the contested Donbas region in the east, said he may stage a referendum on his territory becoming part of Russia. “I think that in the near future a referendum will be held on the territory of the republic, during which the people will… … express their opinion on joining the Russian Federation,” Pasechnik said.

Russia’s president recognised the two such eastern self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk shortly before the start of the war. He launched his so-called “special military operation” on 24 February, claiming that he was acting in defence of its people.

Budanov said he believed that Putin had wanted to take over the whole of Ukraine but has changed his plan since failing to take its capital, Kyiv, and overthrow Volodomyr Zelenskiy’s government in the early days of the war. Saturday’s missile attacks on Lviv, in the west of Ukraine close to the Polish border, are being seen as a message of defiance to the US president, Joe Biden, who was speaking in neighbouring Poland, and an attempt to hit Ukrainian fuel and military hardware supplies.

The two targets of the attacks, after which black smoke billowed across Lviv’s historic horizon of steeples and domed cathedral, were a fuel depot and a factory used for repairing tanks, anti-aircraft systems and radar stations. Both were close to apartment blocks and only a mile from the Unesco world heritage protected city centre. One witness, Dmitry Leonov, 36, an IT worker, said the ground shook and people had been thrown to the ground by the force of the blasts at the tank factory.

The windows of a local school were said to have been smashed by the force. The Lviv emergency services chief, Khrystyna Avdyeyeva, said the fire at the fuel depot had been finally put out after 13 hours at 6.49am on Sunday. “The boys have been through hell,” she said. Of those responsible for launching the missiles, which came from Crimea, up to 1,000 miles away, she said: “Let them burn in the same hell. But our heroes will not be there, so nobody will survive.”

Budanov said he was convinced the Russian president was seeking to split Ukraine despite the attack in the west, only the third major assault there since the war began. He said: “Putin is already changing the main operational directions – towards the south and the east. There is reason to believe that he is considering a “Korean scenario” for Ukraine.

“That is trying to impose a dividing line between the unoccupied and occupied regions of our country. In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine. After all, he is definitely not able to swallow the entire country.” Russia has been bogged down in the besieged port city of Mariupol in its attempts to create a land corridor between Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, and the Donbas region.

Budanov said he did not believe Mariupol would fall soon and that Russian troops would face guerrilla tactics even if it did manage to defeat the experienced Azov battalion in the flattened city. He said: “The occupiers will try to unite the occupied territories into a single quasi-state entity, which will oppose independent Ukraine.

We are already seeing attempts to create ‘parallel’ authorities in the occupied territories and force people to give up the hryvnia [Ukraine’s national currency]. “They may want to bargain at the international level. However, the resistance and protests of our citizens on the occupied territories, counter-attacks by the armed forces and gradual liberation – significantly complicate the implementation of enemy’s plans. “In addition, the season of total Ukrainian guerrilla safari will soon begin.

Then there will be one relevant scenario left for the Russians – how to survive.” Oleksii Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskiy, echoed the intelligence chief’s analysis. “Within a week or two, Russia will withdraw troops from Kyiv and Kharkiv regions and send them to Donbas”, he said. “They realised that they will not be able to take over the big cities, they will announce the completion of the first phase of the ‘special operation’ and the beginning of the second – the ‘liberation of Donbas’.”

Arestovych continued: “They now have three tasks: to surround our troops in Donbas, to completely occupy Mariupol and the south. If they lose Kherson [a city west of Mariupol], their entire Mariupol occupation will collapse. And that’s all.

There will be no capture of Kyiv, Kharkiv or Odesa.” Elsewhere, in Kharkiv the authorities reported 44 artillery strikes and 140 rocket assaults in a single day, including on a nuclear research facility. In Kyiv, the authorities warned that Russians were increasingly disguising themselves as civilians to engage in sabotage.

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