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Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) chief Kyrylo Budanov during a meeting with the relatives of Ukrainian prisoners of war who Russia claims were on the Il-76 transport plane that crashed over Russia's Belgorod Oblast, on Jan. 26, 2024. (Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War/Facebook)
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There is no point in peace talks because the only option is to reclaim occupied territory, Ukraine's Military Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer published June 23.

"We have no option but to get back what was occupied. Otherwise, the state of war will go on forever," Budanov told the paper.

Ukraine held a peace summit in Switzerland earlier this month to rally support for its peace formula, which includes restoring its national borders. Russia was not invited to the event in Switzerland.

During the interview, the military intelligence chief also expressed a belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

"What use would it have? We don’t have big concentrations of troops for which such nuclear weapons would be appropriate," Budanov said, adding that breaking through Ukrainian defense lines could be done with conventional weapons, avoiding large political risks.

Budanov also spoke of the need to use long-range weapons to attack Russian soil, which Ukraine has increasingly done in recent months. Additionally, Budanov said he believes that long-range ATACMS missiles could be used to destroy the Kerch Bridge.

Russia claims Ukraine attacked Sevastopol with 5 ATACMS missiles, killing 3
Russian Defense Ministry claimed on June 23 that Ukraine had launched an attack against Sevastopol, a city in Russian-occupied Crimea, with five U.S.-made long-range ATACMS missiles.

The bridge connects the Russian mainland with the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula and has long been a crucial supply route for the Russian military in Ukraine.

Construction on the 19-kilometer-long bridge began after the illegal 2014 annexation of Crimea and was completed in 2018.

The bridge was heavily damaged in Ukrainian strikes in October 2022 and July 2023. However, Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk said earlier this month that its destruction would no longer be as effective militarily, as Russia no longer relies on it as heavily for military purposes.

In the interview, Budanov also discussed a possible win by Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, describing his attitude toward such an event as "calm": "Your elections are very unpredictable. If you analyze his public speeches, he has changed his position several times. And the power of your system is that it doesn’t allow one individual to make decisions unilaterally."

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