Ukraine’s spy chief on Thursday said Kyiv’s forces were planning to step up their attacks on Russian infrastructure sites, following a spate of drone strikes on Russian energy facilities this year.
“The number of attacks on Russian infrastructure is likely to increase,” Kyrylo Budanov, chief of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence unit, said in a social media post.
“Hypothetically, there is a plan according to which all this is happening. I think that this plan may include all major critical and military infrastructure in Russia,” he added in a cautiously-worded statement.
For months Ukraine did not comment publicly on drone strikes and other attacks on Russian territory that it was believed to be involved in.
But in recent months its military agencies have begun to claim public responsibility for a series of drone attacks hundreds of kilometres behind the front lines.
It calls the strikes on Russian oil and gas facilities “fair” retribution for Russia’s wave of attacks against its own energy infrastructure.
Budanov’s comments come after a senior US diplomat said President Vladimir Putin should expect some “surprises on the battlefield.”
In Kyiv on Wednesday, Victoria Nuland, a US under secretary of state, said she was confident that “as Ukraine strengthens its defences, Mr. Putin is going to get some nice surprises on the battlefield and that Ukraine will make some very strong success.”
Budanov also called on the United States to deliver A-10 fighter jets — also known as Thunderbolts — to Ukraine to boost its offensive capabilities.
“A-10 assault aircraft could significantly strengthen Ukraine’s frontline capabilities,” Budanov said.
The US-designed A-10 attack jet first entered into service in 1975 and was used extensively by the American air force during the Gulf War.
The air force says the A-10 is geared towards providing support for ground forces and is effective against ground targets, including tanks.
“They can indeed help inflict a military defeat on Russia,” Budanov said in a post which came after he downplayed fears over the possibility of Donald Trump returning to the White House in an interview with US broadcaster CNN.
Washington is Ukraine’s main supplier of weapons, but the latest multi-billion dollar package of support has been held up amid political wrangling in Congress.