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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that Moscow’s war in Ukraine will end once all of President Vladimir Putin’s “tasks” are completed.
“Today, the main priorities for us are the preservation of the life and health of subordinate personnel and the elimination of threats to the security of the civilian population,” he told Russian media. “The special military operation will continue until the tasks assigned by the supreme commander are completed”.
Putin refused to call his war in Ukraine an invasion and instead called it a “special military operation”.
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Moscow has remained ambiguous when it comes to Ukraine’s goal, but Putin’s invasion has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis and security threat in Europe since World War II.
At the onslaught of the invasion, Putin claimed that his troops would “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine”.
Western and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly refuted Russia’s claims of Nazi oppression in Kiev and pointed out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, was democratically elected.
Russia’s original intentions became apparent when it made immediate attempts to take the Ukrainian capital and showed blatant aggression against Zelenskyy after Russian forces attempted twice to storm the presidential palace.
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“The enemy has designated me as target number one; my family is target number two,” Zelenskyy said in February.
Western officials warned that Putin’s intent was to forcibly remove Zelenskyy and establish an official sympathizer for the Kremlin.
However, after a month of intense fighting, Moscow failed to take Kiev and withdrew its troops to be reassembled before announcing that its second wave of operations would focus on taking “full control” over eastern Ukraine and southern.
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Russia said on Sunday it had taken control of the northern Donbas region, known as Luhansk, and pushed its troops southwest to Donetsk.
Heavy fighting continues across the Donbas and Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia will not stop even if it is able to gain control of its seaports and eastern regions and make another attempt for Kiev.