Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has admitted what has been open to everyone outside his country for months. According to him, the special military operation in Ukraine, which the Kremlin called the invasion of the neighboring country, is now limited not only to the Donbas, but also to other Ukrainian territories. Reuters writes about it.
In an interview with the editor-in-chief of the RT state channel RT, formerly Russia Today and a spokesperson for pro-Kremlin propaganda, the head of Russian diplomacy, Margarita Simonjanova, named, for example, the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
Russian troops have long partially occupied these areas, and Ukraine has recently announced its intention to launch a counterattack there. It has been talked about for a long time that Russia is preparing to hold referendums for the annexation of these regions to its territory.
According to the United States, voting could take place as early as September. “They’re not fooling anyone,[Putin]is dusting off a 2014 scenario,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday, referring to Ukraine’s annexation of Crimea.
Lavrov blames the West for the escalation of the war in Ukraine, which he says is trying to aggravate the situation as much as possible. The minister points to the supply of other long-range weapons, for example, he mentioned the American HIMARS salvo rocket launchers, which Kiev highly praised, because, in his opinion, they “stabilized” the situation on the battlefield.
“We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that is controlled by Zelensky or will replace him, to have weapons that pose a direct threat to our territory and to the territory of the republics that have declared their independence and want to independently decide their future,” Lavrov said. said.
He was talking about the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine – the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, whose “liberation” by Russian President Vladimir Putin justified the start of the war.
In line with Lavrov’s current statement, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered the army earlier in the day to destroy Ukraine’s long-range missile and artillery weapons “as a priority”.
Moscow has never limited its occupation to eastern Ukraine, although it has claimed otherwise from the beginning. When the Russian army failed to capture the metropolis due to the resistance of the Ukrainians, it only withdrew from the Kyiv environs at the beginning of April.
Later, the Kremlin launched the “second phase” of the offensive when it designated the Donbas as its main target. Since then, Russia has conquered almost all of Luhansk Oblast, but still has not managed to control Donetsk Oblast. However, Lavrov’s new statement may indicate another change in Russia’s declared targets.
Despite the rhetoric, Russia continues to bombard almost all Ukrainian territory throughout the war. On Wednesday, local authorities reported a Russian attack in Kharkov, for example, that killed at least 3 people, including a child.
Russia also tried to seize Kharkov in the first months of the war. Later his forces retreated to the rear of the city, but according to the British secret services, for example, the Kremlin still did not give up its intention to control the city. Last week, a bloody attack on the center of the city of Vinnytsia, hundreds of kilometers from the front, also shocked the world.
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Source: Seznam Zpravy