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Russia reveals plans for phase 2 of military operations in Ukraine

Russia revealed the plan for phase 2 of the military operation in Ukraine - Photo 1.

Armored vehicles of the pro-Russian army move in Mariupol, April 21 – Photo: REUTERS

Russia’s TASS and Interfax news agencies quoted Minnekayev as saying the control of the south Ukraine will help Russia increase access to the breakaway Transdniestria region of Moldova – a country bordering Ukraine.

“Controlling southern Ukraine is another door to Transdniestria, where there is evidence that the Russian-speaking population is being oppressed,” Minnekayev explained of the campaign’s goal.

Meanwhile, Kiev authorities fear Transdniestria will become a springboard for other Russian military campaigns.

Russia still does not control two major cities in southern Ukraine, Odessa and Mykolayiv.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has criticized Russia’s plan to control Donbass and southern Ukraine via Twitter.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that Russia has “acknowledged that the second phase goal is not de-fascistization, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine”.

According to Minnekayev, Russia has planned to build a land corridor between Crimea (the peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014) and the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

Minnekayev added that the losses of the Russian army are in fact not as great as the media are reporting.

The statement from deputy commander Rustam Minnekayev is one of the most detailed statements about Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine, showing that Russia has no plans to end its military campaign in the neighboring country anytime soon.

On the same day, the Russian Defense Ministry said it was ready for a humanitarian ceasefire at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol – the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the strategic port city.

Accordingly, the ceasefire will take effect when Ukrainian forces in Azovstal “raise the white flag”, to allow the evacuation of those who are sheltering inside.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said that claims by Ukraine and Western countries about Russia preventing civilians from leaving Mariupol are “baseless”.

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