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Russia reveals the real goal of the second phase of the war in Ukraine

Major General Rustam Minnekaev, acting commander of Russia’s Central Military District, told Tass news agency: “Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation two days ago, one of the tasks of the army has been one of the tasks of the army. Russia is establishing full control over Donbass and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor for Crimea.”

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A Russian soldier walks through destroyed residential areas in the eastern city of Mariupol, Ukraine. Photo: AP

According to CNN, General Minnekaev’s statement marks the first time that Russian authorities have admitted that they are trying to establish a land corridor through the territory. Ukrainewhich connects the country with Crimea, the peninsula that was annexed to Russia in 2014.

Speaking at the annual joint meeting of the Sverdlovsk Region Defense Industry Enterprises Association on April 22, Minnekaev added that control of southern Ukraine would allow Russian forces access to Transnistria, a region separatist region in Moldova, where Moscow has stationed troops since the early 1990s.

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Lands controlled by Russian troops (pink) and Moscow-backed Ukrainian separatist forces (pink stripe) as well as areas Ukrainian forces claim to have counter-recaptured (blue dashed). ) as of April 21. Graphics: CNN

Since the beginning of the campaign, Russian forces have only controlled part of southern Ukraine. Kiev’s armed forces remain in control of the key cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa, while a small group of Ukrainian soldiers are holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol.

In recent weeks, Russia withdrew its forces in northern Ukraine after being unable to quickly capture the neighboring country’s capital, Kiev. Russian officials have stated that their strategic goal has shifted to occupy the entire eastern Donbass region.

Responding to reporters’ requests to clarify specific locations when referring to the southern territory of Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment and referred questions to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Ukrainian authorities recently alleged that Russian forces occupying the southern city of Kherson were planning to stage a fake referendum to announce the birth of the self-proclaimed Kherson People’s Republic. in the coming days, similar to what happened to the two breakaway regions of the Donbass in March.

Moscow has yet to comment on Kiev’s allegations.

Tuan Anh

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