Russia’s Goals in Ukraine No Longer Solely Focused on the East – Lavrov

Russia’s ‘geographical targets’ in Ukraine have changed to include not only the breakaway people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, but also a number of other regions, the foreign minister says foreigners Sergei Lavrov. Told state media on Wednesday.

“Now, [our] the geography is different. It’s not only DNR and LNR, it’s also Kherson region, Zaporizhzhia region and a number of other territories,” he said in an interview with the news agency. public RIA Novosti and the Kremlin-backed RT network.

Lavrov linked the change in goals to the West supplying arms to Kyiv.

He said that Russia cannot accept that “in the parts of Ukraine that [President Volodomyr] Zelensky or whoever replaces him will control, there are weapons that will directly threaten our territory and the territory of those [eastern Ukrainian] republics which have declared their independence.

“If Western countries supply long-range weapons to Ukraine, [these goals] will go even further,” Lavrov said.

Over the past month, the US delivery of HIMARS medium-range rocket systems has enabled Ukraine to attack Russian positions beyond the front lines more frequently and with greater precision.

Experts said the comments are a major signal that Moscow is seeking to annex lands in southern and eastern Ukraine that it captured during its five-month invasion.

Despite President Vladimir Putin’s claims that Russia has no intention of permanently occupying Ukrainian territories, officials from Moscow-based administrations in Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions have expressed their intention to organize referendums to join Russia.

“The legitimation of the referendum preparations seems to have begun” tweeted political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the think tank R.Politik.

Russia previously recalibrated its targets in Ukraine to focus on the east of the country in April after a failed attempt to storm the capital Kyiv.

After capturing the entire Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine in early July, Russian forces are expected to continue their offensive in the coming weeks, in a fierce battle to take full control of the Donetsk region.

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