The Kremlin on Wednesday said that the “special military operation” in Ukraine must continue until Russia takes full control of east Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
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In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the military campaign in Ukraine would continue “at a minimum” until the “liberation” of the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” referring to the region’s Russian-backed administration.
“Therefore it is necessary, as a minimum, to liberate the entire territory of the DPR,” he said.
Russia has framed its military campaign in Ukraine as necessary to protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, of which Donetsk makes up half, from “genocide” by Ukraine. Both Kyiv and Western countries say this is a figleaf for an imperial-style land grab.
Though Russia already controls almost all of Luhansk region, the other half of the Donbas, it holds only around 60 percent of Donetsk region.
The Moscow-backed entities in Donetsk and Luhansk, alongside two other Russian-occupied regions in southern Ukraine, are seeking to become part of Russia after they completed on Tuesday what Kyiv and Western governments described as sham referendums on joining Russia.
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