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Russia’s goals in Ukraine now include territory outside the Donbas, Lavrov says

Russia’s military objectives in Ukraine have now expanded beyond the Donbas region in the eastern part of the country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state media on Wednesday.

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State media on Wednesday reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had stated that Russia’s military goals in Ukraine now extend beyond the eastern region of the country known as the Donbas.

After invading Ukraine in late February, the Russian military had hoped to seize Kiev within a matter of days. However, Russia pulled its troops out of the surrounding areas at the beginning of April, choosing to focus instead on the Donbas region, which consists primarily of the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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The geography of [our] time has changed. In an interview with the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, Lavrov referred to the two breakaway regions by the names the pro-Russian separatists in the region promote: the [Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics], the Kherson region, the Zaporizhzhia region, and a number of other territories.

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Russia’s military has taken additional territory, primarily in the south, including the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson areas, since deciding to refocus on the Donbas. Nonetheless, the country is still far from capturing Donestk.

According to Lavrov, Western military aid to the Ukrainian resistance was a driving factor in the expansion of their goals.

The minister explained that Russia cannot tolerate the possibility that “in the parts of Ukraine that [President Volodymyr] Zelensky or the one who will replace him will control, there are weapons that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territory of those [eastern Ukrainian] republics that have announced their independence.”

When asked about the possibility of long-range weapons being supplied to Ukraine by Western countries, Lavrov warned that this would only further the aims of the Russian government.

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The White House had issued a warning about Russia’s possible annexation of Ukrainian territory the day before.

John Kirby, coordinator of the National Security Council, made this claim during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. He said that Russia intends to annex the city of Kherson as well as all of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

“Russia is violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory that it controls. Evidence abounds in the form of intelligence reports and publicly available information suggesting Russia plans to try to annex more territory from Ukraine. With what could be called a “annexation playbook,” Russia is starting to implement its own strategy “That’s what he had to say, he clarified. It was “very like the one we saw in 2014,” the speaker said.

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The Kremlin has not set a date for these referenda, but local proxies have claimed that they will take place this year, as the former Pentagon spokesman pointed out.

Western defense leaders held their monthly Defense Contact Group meeting virtually on the day of Lavrov’s comments to discuss the conflict. In preparation for the meeting, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that the United States would be announcing a new military aid package that would include four HIMARS.

Even though Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said on Tuesday that Ukraine needs at least 55 HIMARS to “hold back the enemy” effectively, this package will bring the total number of Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS provided to Ukraine to 16.

The Examiner of Washington War in Ukraine, National Security, Defense, Ukraine, Russia, Videos

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Writer Originally: Mike Brest

Originating Place: The Donbas are no longer the only target of Russia’s expansion in Ukraine, Lavrov says.

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