Kremlin reveals goal of Ukraine offensive
Russia’s armed forces have no intention of partitioning Ukraine as part of its military operation into the country, the Kremlin has claimed, as Moscow continues to attack its neighbor.
Speaking as part of an interview with Sky News Arabia on Friday, Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov set out Russia’s objectives in the Eastern European nation.
“After the 2014 coup d’état, Ukraine has become influenced by Nazi ideology. We want to free her from this ideology,” he claimed.
Peskov went on, arguing that “the presence of NATO infrastructure in Ukraine has increased, which directly threatens the security of Russia.” Moscow has repeatedly called Kiev’s incorporation into the military bloc a “red line.”
“We do not aim to divide Ukrainian territory into parts, but seek to ensure guarantees of our own security,” the Kremlin spokesman stated.
Peskov also said that Moscow bore the responsibility for ensuring the safety of civilians in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics after the Kremlin affirmed their sovereignty last month. The two breakaway territories in the Donbass are home to a large proportion of ethnic Russians and are largely Russophone regions. Moscow has issued more than 700,000 Russian passports to people living in the separatist-held republics.
He went on to allege that Kiev had been planning an attack on the two republics, and insisted that Russia had to step in and demilitarize Ukraine to protect them.
The broadside from Peskov comes as representatives from Moscow and Kiev are preparing to hold a third round of peace talks. On Thursday, the two sides met in Belarus and discussed creating humanitarian corridors that would allow the evacuation of civilians from cities across the Eastern European nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. According to the Kremlin, the goal of the intervention is “to protect the people [of the Donbass] who have been tortured for eight years by the Ukrainian regime.” It came after requests from the leaders of the republics for assistance in combatting what they claimed was an uptick in “aggression” from Kiev’s armed forces.
Moscow has vehemently opposed NATO’s presence close to its borders, and embarked on a mission to obtain security guarantees that would halt the US-led military bloc’s expansion and block Kiev from joining its ranks.