Russia revealed that the goal of its invasion of Ukraine was to have complete control of southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbass region.
The announcement by a senior military official marks the first time that Russia has admitted it is fighting to create a land corridor through Ukraine connecting Russia to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
“Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, which began literally two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over Donbass and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor for Crimea,” Mag said. The Russian Tass news agency quoted General Rustam Minkayev, Acting Commander of Russia’s Central Military District.
TASS quoted Minnikaev, speaking at the annual general meeting of the Federation of Defense Industries of the Sverdlovsk region, as saying that the goal is to create a land corridor between the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
He added that controlling southern Ukraine would give Russian forces access to Transnistria, a breakaway state in Moldova, where a contingent of Russian forces have been based since the early 1990s.
Russian forces currently have only partial control of southern Ukraine, with the Ukrainian government still in control of the major cities of Mykolaiv and Odessa and some Ukrainian forces holding out in a steelworks in a besieged port. Mariupol.
Russia in recent weeks withdrew its forces in northern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv, with Russian military officials claiming that their strategic objectives had shifted to control of the entire eastern Donbass region.
In response to a question from reporters on Friday to clarify what territory means southern Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment and referred questions to the Defense Ministry.
Ukrainian authorities have warned in recent days that Russian forces occupying the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson are planning to hold a sham referendum to declare the so-called “Kherson People’s Republic” in the coming days, reflecting the creation of Russian-backed separatist republics in Donbass. In 2014 she paved the way for the Russian invasion on February 24.