Putin explains Russian military's plan in Ukraine
The timing of the military offensive in Ukraine is determined by the intensity of hostilities and Russia will act according to its plan, President Vladimir Putin explained on Tuesday, during a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
“I often get these questions, ‘can’t we hurry it up?’ We can. But it depends on the intensity of hostilities and, any way you put it, the intensity of hostilities is directly related to casualties,” said the Russian president.
He added that “our task is to achieve the set goals while minimizing these losses. We will act rhythmically, calmly, and according to the plan that was initially proposed by the General Staff.”
Putin reiterated that Russia’s actions in several regions of Ukraine were intended only to tie down enemy forces and carry out missile strikes with the purpose of destroying the Ukrainian military’s infrastructure, so as to “create conditions for more active operations on the territory of Donbass.”
While thanking the Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine for their “heroic service to their homeland,” and for protecting Russia’s interests, Putin stated that “a confrontation with the forces that were being brought up by the West in Ukraine, a confrontation with radical nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, was inevitable” and that it was only a matter of time.
“They were preparing and waiting for their hour. And, as I’ve said, we aren’t going to let them do that. That’s the logic of our actions,” the Russian president explained, adding that seeing Ukrainian soldiers wearing SS Galicia patches –a division of the Nazi forces that were responsible for numerous slaughters of Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian and Polish civilians during WWII)– in Donbass only further proves that “the timing of Russia’s operation was correct, or else there would’ve been even more of them.”
Putin also recalled what he had stated in his initial message on the morning of February 24 when Russian forces crossed the borders of Ukraine: “Our goal is to provide aid to the people of Donbass, who feel an unbreakable bond with Russia and have been the subjects of genocide for eight years.”
“That’s the way it is. The operation is going according to plan.” the Russian president proclaimed.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.