Defense minister explains conditions for Russian advances in Ukraine
Russia’s defense minister has outlined the conditions for a widening of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, explaining that potential advances are directly tied to Western arms deliveries to Kiev.
“It depends on the weaponry that will be supplied,” Sergey Shoigu said in a brief remark to the TV program ‘Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.’
The minister appeared to be speaking on the sidelines of President Vladimir Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly, the country’s main legislative body, earlier this week.
“One thing must be clear to everyone,” Putin said during the event. “The longer the range of the Western systems that arrive in Ukraine, the further we will be forced to push the threat away from our borders. It’s obvious.”
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, citing the need to protect the people of Donbass republics and Kiev’s failure to implement the 2014-15 Minsk agreements. Ukraine, as well as its supporters in the West, consider the offensive to be completely unprovoked.
Russia has repeatedly urged Western states to stop “pumping” Ukraine with weapons, maintaining that the continuous flow of arms will only prolong the conflict rather than change its ultimate outcome. Kiev, for its part, has repeatedly demanded more and longer-range weaponry from its Western backers, insisting that such systems are needed to push Russian troops out of the territories Ukraine claims as its own.