Russia’s military aims in Ukraine no longer focused ‘only’ on Donbas - Lavrov
Russia's FM says Moscow's objectives will continue to expand if the West delivers long-range weapons to Kyiv
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview on Wednesday that Moscow’s aims in Ukraine are no longer focused “only” on the breakaway eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Talking to the state news agency RIA Novosti and Russia Today channel, Lavrov said that the geography of the “special military operation,” as the Kremlin labels its invasion of Ukraine, is “different now.”
"It is not only about the DNR (Donetsk People's Republic) and LNR (Luhansk People's Republic), but also the Kherson region, the Zaporizhzhia region and a number of other territories," Lavrov said, adding that "this process is continuing, consistently and persistently."
According to the minister, Russia's objectives will expand even further if the West delivers long-range weapons to Kyiv. Ukraine has earlier reported significant casualties among the Russian forces after the US supplied Kyiv with HIMARS artillery rocket systems that have a range of over 40 miles.
“We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that (Ukraine President Volodymyr) Zelensky will control or whoever replaces him to have weapons that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territory of those republics that have declared their independence, those who want to determine their future on one's own,” Lavrov underlined.
He also backed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that the “special operation” was “inevitable” and said that he felt “relieved” when it started. Commenting on unprecedented sanctions imposed against Moscow following the invasion, Lavrov expressed doubts that Europe will cut ties with Russia.
"I don't think it's in their best interest to completely cut all ties with us and switch to liquefied natural gas, which the Americans are trying to sell them," the minister said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Putin warned the West of further gas delivery cuts amid Europe’s attempts to reduce its dependency on Russian energy supplies.