Russia plans to seize Donbass and southern Ukraine: military official | Russo-Ukrainian War



The commander says control of southern Ukraine would give Moscow access to the Russian-backed Moldovan region, Transnistria.

Russia plans to seize the Donbass region and southern Ukraine, a military official said, explaining that the latest move was a “path to Transnistria”, the Russian-backed breakaway region in Moldova.

Rustam Minnekaev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, made the announcement Friday during a meeting in Sverdlovsk, according to Russian media.

He said capturing Donbass would allow Moscow to forge a land bridge between Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it annexed in 2014, and the eastern region.

“Control of southern Ukraine is another route to Transnistria, where there is also evidence that the Russian-speaking population is oppressed,” Minnekaev said, without providing details of the alleged oppression.

Transnistria (Transnistria), where about 1,500 Russian troops are based, borders Ukraine. kyiv fears the region could be used as a launching pad for further Russian attacks.

A narrow strip of land held by pro-Russian separatists, it runs along eastern Moldova and approaches about 40 km from the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials said an airfield in the region was being prepared to receive planes and be used by Moscow to fly troops to Ukraine, allegations denied by the Moldovan ministry of Defense and the Transnistrian authorities.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denounced these plans as “imperialism”.

“They stopped hiding it,” the ministry said on Twitter.

He said Russia had “recognized that the goal of the ‘second phase’ of the war is not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine. Imperialism as it is.

Minnekaev’s remarks came a day after Moscow claimed it had ‘liberated’ the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol entirely except for the sprawling Azovstal steel plant from the Soviet era, which Ukrainian forces have made their last stronghold.

While Kyiv acknowledged that Moscow controlled most of Mariupol, it said the city was still in Ukrainian hands, while Washington dismissed Russia’s claimed victory as misinformation.

Minnekaev was quoted as saying by Russian news agency RIA that media reports of Russian military setbacks were far from the truth.

“The media is now talking a lot about certain failures of our armed forces. But this is not the case. In the early days…the tactics of Ukrainian units were designed to ensure that after advancing, individual groups of Russian troops fell into pre-prepared ambushes and suffered casualties,” he said.

“But the Russian armed forces very quickly adapted to this and changed their tactics.”

According to RIA, he said daily missile and other strikes against Ukrainian forces meant Russia could do serious damage without losing troops.

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