Ukraine's flag once again decorated the statue of Ukrainian national poet Taras Chevtchenko in the main square


  • Budanov promised Ukraine's victory in the war during an interview with ABC News
  • Budanov said he expects the fighting between Russia and Ukraine to be 'hottest' in March
  • Ukraine plans to liberate all Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea

Ukraine's spy chief has promised Kyiv will win the war against Russia in 2023, adding that Ukrainian forces will liberate all temporarily occupied territories in the spring.

Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, made the promise while speaking in an interview with ABC News published Wednesday.

"We will win this year, 2023," Budanov said, adding, "Victory is in 2023. It's [the] victory of Ukraine. It will be [the] victory of Ukraine."

In the interview, Budanov also said he expects the fighting between Russian and Ukraine forces to be the "hottest" in March as Kyiv plans a major push in hopes of reclaiming more territories occupied by Moscow's troops. The fight, he said, would likely happen across Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula.

"This is [when we will see more] liberation of territories and dealing the final defeats to the Russian Federation. This will happen throughout Ukraine, from Crimea to the Donbas," he added. "Our goal, and we will achieve it, is returning to the borders of 1991, like Ukraine is recognized by all subjects of international law."

Budanov's interview comes as Russia continues to suffer mounting losses amid recent military failures. On New Year's Eve, Ukrainian forces carried out a missile strike on a Russian base in the city of Makiivka in Donetsk Oblast.

Ukraine claimed the strike killed at least 400 Russian draftees and wounded 300 others. Russia initially confirmed only 63 deaths before updating the death toll to 89 Wednesday.

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the widespread use of cell phones by Russian soldiers as the reason why Ukraine was able to "track and determine the coordinates of the soldiers' locations" and conduct the missile strike.

On Dec. 26, three Russian soldiers were killed after a Ukrainian drone was shot down by air defenses while it was approaching the Engels-2 military airfield in Saratov Oblast, deep inside Russian territory. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

As of Wednesday, the Russian army lost a total of 108,910 soldiers in the war, including 720 deaths reported over the past day, as per estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region