(EXCLUSIVE) Major-General Vadym Skibitskyi, Military Intelligence of Ukraine, about Ukrainian Offensive, russian Military Propaganda Machine, Likelihood of Nuclear War and Dark Future of russian State
Major General Vadym Skibitskyi, one of the highest representatives of Ukraine's military intelligence, reveals a series of lesser known and unknown details about the russian aggression and propaganda war in the extensive exclusive interview with "CIVIL Media".
From the major general’s answers, we learn about the dynamics and nature of the military actions, how powerful they are, what happened and what is happening with prihozhyn’s 'wagnerites', as well as about the armed rebel group on russian territory. Furthermore, we learn details about the russian propaganda and information war and the possibilities of a nuclear war.
We also learn details about the russian private armies and putin’s guard. Particularly interesting are the insider information of the Ukrainian top intelligence officer in regards to what really is happening and how the situation will develop and the real possibilities of destabilization, and even the fall of the russian federation.
From understandable reasons, not much biographical data can be found on "CIVIL Media"’s exclusive interlocutor.
“CIVIL Media”: Thank you Mr. Major General for this interview. Let’s start the conversation with the pace of the counteroffensive for liberating Ukraine from the russian aggressors. The slow progress of Ukraine’s defenders has caused much discussion in Western media and in military and expert circles. How do you assess the current situation on the battlefield and what would your response be to critics?
Vadym Skibitskyi: The current situation on the battlefield is difficult, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine have an initiative. Everything is going according to plan. We are responding to changes in the situation on the battlefield and are making necessary adjustments. Ukraine’s military intelligence is exposing the enemy’s intentions, while the Defence Forces are disrupting them. We are analyzing and striking where the russian occupiers are suffering significant losses.
Yes, we admit that the enemy has entrenched itself well in the occupied Ukrainian territories: large mine barriers, several lines of fortifications – all this, nonetheless, has its own impact on the pace of our progress.
However, for those who think that Ukraine is too slow in the offensive, I will tell them that the war is not sports competition. The dynamics of military actions depend on an extremely large number of factors, including the availability of forces and means necessary for carrying out combat tasks.
We need ammunition, we need more assets for air defence, we need demining vehicles and long-range precision systems.
In this context, we are very grateful that North Macedonia, along with all other countries, stands by Ukraine and doesn’t stop providing assistance for the protection of the Ukrainian people, our continent and our common values of freedom.
I would like to remind you that the russian full-scale aggression had the goal of blitzkrieg – a quick occupation and subjugation of the whole of Ukraine. The expert circles you mentioned, before the invasion on February 24, 2022, used to think that Ukraine wouldn’t last long. But the aggressor got a hit in the teeth. And we will continue until he spits out the last canine tooth. And the main thing here is not so much speed as is unexpectedness and precision of the strike.
Overall, the philosophy of the current liberation war against the Russians, which is led by the commanders of the Security and Defence Forces of Ukraine, is that we, unlike our enemy, value our soldiers.
Our actions on the battlefield are aimed at disabling the enemy – cutting off supply routes, destroying weapons depots, victory in the counter-battery fire, destroying their assets for intelligence and air defence.
We are operating in all dimensions of the war, and the combination of successes in each of them will bring the desired result.
So, Ukraine is in an offensive, and there will be success.
“CIVIL Media”: The 36-hour mutiny by prihozhyn’s group of mercenaries on June 24 showed the whole world the cracks in putin’s machinery. What really happened?
Vadym Skibitskyi: Yes, putin’s machinery has cracks and corrosion. These are the “Zhigulis” of the kremlin, which have no rear view mirrors, and in the trunk have a nuclear warhead.
Prihozhyn’s mutiny exposed not only the cracks, but also the incapability of the russian dictator to hold the reigns.
In 36 hours, the rebellious terrorist group destroyed 8 units of the russian military aviation, killed several dozen military persons, among which also pilots.
At the same time, the "wagnerites" almost captured the nuclear weapons site called “Voronezh-45”.
And as a result, putin, calling the mutiny “treason” and “a knife in the back”, at the end freed the terrorists from “wagner” group in belarus.
As they say, feel the difference: the Chekist leader, who built an image on the bravado of “drowning terrorists in the toilet”, has turned into a weak paranoid grandfather–afraid, but also revengeful, as evidenced by the purges in the russian occupying army that started after “Wagner’s” mutiny with the purpose to identify and punish those who support prihozhyn.
And his mutiny was supported not only by individual representatives of the military elite of russia, but also by the average russian population, as evidenced by the report of the ministry of interior of the russian federation, intercepted by the military intelligence of Ukraine. The secret document gives closed ratings on the sympathy towards putin and prihozhyn, and for the russian dictator they are disappointing.
“CIVIL Media”: It seems that Western media are giving prihozhyn too much importance, although, actually, it concerns a war criminal and international trafficker of war crimes and dirty operations? What is left of prihozhyn’s mercenaries is now in belarus. How dangerous is this group now? Was it really such an intimidating force before?
Vadym Skibitskyi: The “wagner” terrorist group created more problems on the battlefield in Ukraine than the regular russian army did. Prihozhyn’s mercenaries were indeed more than prepared and combat capable.
Once they were disarmed on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and in russia and sent to belarus, Ukraine’s military intelligence is carefully monitoring the nature of the further actions of the “wagner” group on the territory of belarus. Currently, we don’t see a direct threat from there.
The mercenaries-terrorists are now taking part in the training of lukashenko’s army, but this action is not of a systematic nature. Prihozhyn himself expresses his intention to return to the criminal activities on the territory of Africa.
Nevertheless, we will keep sight of the “wagnerites”.
“CIVIL Media”: The kremlin is accusing the Ukrainian intelligence of the existence and operations of the Freedom of russia Legion and the russian Volunteer Corps. How authentic are these military formations in russia and what is the connection between them and the defenсe of Ukraine? What is their ability to inflict harm on putin’s regime?
Vadym Skibitskyi: The russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of russia Legion consist of fighters with russian citizenship.
Their actions on russian territory became just as much an unpleasant surprise for the kremlin as was prihozhyn’s mutiny – moscow leaders were simply not prepared for such a scenario, which was shown with their helpless and weak reaction to the episodes of armed fighting in the belhorod, kursk and briansk region in russia.
These russian oppositional armed formations have enough autonomy and rights to fight against putin’s criminal regime on the territory of their own country, and any factor that weakens the terrorist fascist regime in moscow is in the interest of Ukraine.
“CIVIL Media”: What are the most important characteristics of the russian propaganda in this phase of the war? Do you think that russia is losing the propaganda war or is it simply transforming?
Vadym Skibitskyi: The main tasks of the russian propaganda in the current phase come down to destroying the internal unity of Ukrainian society, undermining the trust between Ukraine and our partners in order to stop military assistance, while in russia – to encourage the myth that current russia, the “Zhyguli”, with a nuclear warhead, is capable of some kind of movement and development.
The russian propaganda is quite static in its set of methods. However, one must admit that in 2014 the enemy was efficient in the information field – Ukraine was not ready for massive disinformation and information-psychological operations by the russian federation.
With the start of the full-scale invasion, we are taking a more proactive approach in countering russian propaganda. And our main weapon in this process is the truth.
Ukraine’s military intelligence, for example, has become more open – we publish facts, some intelligence data that expose the intentions of the aggressor, we publish evidences of war crimes committed by russia.
And this approach proves its efficiency: russian propaganda cannot reach its main goals and therefore russia is losing in the information war.
“CIVIL Media”: What is next for putin? Now more than ever, he needs military success in Ukraine, and he is very far from achieving it. In order to compensate for his losses on the battlefield, putin has increased missile terror. On the day of the mercenary mutiny alone, russia attacked Ukraine with 50 missiles and drones, of which 20 or more were aimed at Kyiv. Doesn’t this complicate the situation? Did you expect for putin to take an “all or nothing” approach? And what about the red button?
Vadym Skibitskyi: putin needs military success now and has always needed it, because he gave the order for a war to be started against Ukraine.
Certainly, the missile attacks of the enemy complicate the situation, as they cause casualties among the Ukrainians and destruction of infrastructure facilities, of our economy.
We assess the threats by russia regarding the employment of nuclear weapons as a manifestation of blackmail and intimidation. This is irresponsible, but completely characteristic of moscow’s behavior.
I think that the probability to use the “red button” by putin is low, including also because of the position of official Beijing, which publically expressed itself as against the employment of nuclear weapons.
And even if hypothetically such a scenario was allowed, it would not allow the aggressor to win the war, but it would be the last day of the existence of russia.
“CIVIL Media”: How strong is the russian federation really? It seems that the private armies and some other armed formations, such as kadyrov’s army, are a serious problem in russia. According to some estimates, there are around 60 different armed formations and private armies in russia. Is that so? In addition, what is their real power compared to the regular and special armies of the russian federation? There are some speculations that putin himself has a loyal security force numbering up to 200,000 well-trained armed military personnel. Is this true or is it another horror story of putin’s propaganda?
Vadym Skibitskyi: putin’s former judo sparring partner by the surname of Zolotov handles his security. He leads the troops of the russian national guard. These “guardsmen” are directly subordinated to putin. They receive huge funding, and their number isn’t 200 thousand, but rather about one and a half time bigger.
This guard is suitable for strengthening the police regime in russia. Though warfare is a bit different than breaking up student rallies.
During the full-scale aggression, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed thousands of “russian guardsmen” who were sure to march through captured Kyiv.
As for the other so-called private armies in russia – there really are dozens of them, their activities are funded by big companies, such as “gazprom”.
Also, as of recently, in russia they have decided to create federal paramilitary formations: in each so-called “subject of the federation”, such units are to be created from the local population, armed with light weapons and funded mainly from the local budget.
This means that in each so-called “subject of the federation”, the local putin feudal lords will have their private military companies.
Given the huge number of contradictions in russia, such a step could have an unexpected result for moscow – for example, cause national-liberation movements of the enslaved people or push russia into a bloody chaos of internal confrontations.
“CIVIL Media”: Is general shoihu another owner of a secret private army? Do you expect him to make an attempt to conquer putin’s throne? More specifically: to what extent is the military-political government of the russian federation currently divided?
Vadym Skibitskyi: There is information that the russian so-called private military company called “Patriot” belongs to minister shoihu.
Certainly, he might have high ambitions, but it’s doubtful that he will succeed to take the highest position in russia. One of the main reasons lies in the fact that he is neither charismatic, nor popular. The very russian occupying army doesn’t support the minister too much, he is usually laughed at, called “leader of deer”.
Therefore, soihu’s private military company is not about attempting to take putin’s throne, but about personal security.
In principle, it’s no secret that in the military-political leadership of the russian federation there are serious disagreements. They have deepened by the strategic failure of the adventurous war against Ukraine.
Individual representatives of the current so-called russian elite are already trying to find security guarantees for themselves after the inevitable collapse of putin’s system.
With every military defeat of the occupying army on the battlefield, with every cargo of military assistance for Ukraine, with every package of new sanction restrictions against the aggressor, the possibility of greater manifestation of these confrontations in russia grows.
“CIVIL Media”: Do you expect a collapse of the russian federation and what will the consequences be from such events for Ukraine and the region?
Vadym Skibitskyi: We don’t expect for russia to collapse one wonderful day. We are fighting and doing everything we can to defeat russia, to liberate Ukraine and provide peace for the future generations of our citizens.
If we talk about transformation of the so-called russian federation, then that is possible only after a complete defeat in the war it started.
This transformation should benefit all, because today’s russia is a personification of the evil, a source of instability and danger both to the world and the russians themselves.
It is in the interest of Ukraine and of whole Europe to deprive russia from the possibility waging new wars and force it to comply with international law.
The transformation of russia surely has to provide for the punishment of all war criminals and compensation for all the damage caused by the war.
Also, it’s worth noting that russia remains a prison for many other peoples who deserve their own nation states, but here it should be noted that without a fight they will not gain statehood.
“CIVIL Media”: What are the prospects regarding Ukraine’s offensive? Will the upcoming winter be even more difficult for liberating Ukraine?
Vadym Skibitskyi: It’s obvious that in the fall and winter, russia will again try to destroy our energy system in order to deprive the Ukrainians from light and heat, to demoralize our society and cause a new wave of forced emigration.
The enemy is now conducting appropriate intelligence measures in order to determine the priority facilities of the energy system of Ukraine. We know about these plans of the enemy and have been preparing for winter since summer.
And the Ukrainian offensive, as I already said, continues. Therefore, we will see what will happen before winter. Ukraine’s unchanged goal is liberation of all occupied territories, sustainable peace and security guarantees for our country and nation.