Ukraine’s Head of Military Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been planning to seize the eastern portion of Ukraine completely in an attempt to create a division similar to that of North and South Korea splitting Ukraine into two.

“The occupiers will try to pull the occupied territories into a single quasi-state structure and pit it against independent Ukraine,” Budanov said. “We are already seeing attempts to create ‘parallel’ authorities in the occupied territories and force people to give up the Ukrainian currency.”

“In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine,” he further stated. “The season of a total Ukrainian guerrilla safari will soon begin. Then there will be one relevant scenario left for the Russians, how to survive.”

This comes after reports that Putin has shifted the Kremlin’s strategy to focus on the “liberation” of the entire Donbas region as it had failed to capture Kyiv so far, meeting strong resistance of the Ukrainians. Currently, the Russians control over 93% of the Luhansk region and around 54% of the Donetsk region, which may be the reason why it opted to shift to completely liberate the Donbas region as it had already controlled a majority of it.

Moscow had only made this announcement after it was found to be retreating from key cities and areas where their forces had faced a series of successful Ukrainian resistance, claiming back integral positions in Makariv (32 miles northwest of Kyiv), multiple areas 21 miles east of Kyiv, as well as pushes toward Hostomel Airfield, Mykolaiv, and Kherson.

Ukrainian soldier posing in Makariv after they had recaptured it (Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) | Twitter)

“In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa, with their progress being slowed by logistic issues and Ukrainian resistance,” stated the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

Despite this, the Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate Sergei Rudskoi claimed that the main objectives of the “first stage” of their operation had been “generally” accomplished. He further claimed that they had “practically” destroyed Ukraine’s air force and anti-aircraft defense systems.

“The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced, which … makes it possible to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of Donbas,” he said.