Russia says its goal in Ukraine is to conquer the country's eastern and southern regions
- A top Russian general said his country's goal in
Ukrainewas to "establish full control" over the east and south.
- It's the most explicit description
Russiahas given for its invasion of Ukraine.
A top Russian general said Friday that one of his country's goals is to conquer Ukraine's eastern Donbas and southern regions.
It is one of the first and most explicit descriptions of Russia's plans for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24.
"Since the start of the second phase of the special operation ... one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over the Donbas and southern Ukraine," Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekaev said Friday, CNN and Agence France-Presse reported, citing Russia's Tass news agency.
"This will provide a land corridor to Crimea," he said, in reference to the region that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 and has controlled since.
Russia refers to its invasion of Ukraine as a "special operation," and declared that the "operation" had entered its second phase earlier this week when it launched a new attack in Ukraine's east.
The apparent new goals are a drastic scaling back of the initiatives that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined at the start of the war, which included the full demilitarization of Ukraine and, as analysts said, regime change.
Earlier this month Russian forces withdrew from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, which they had tried and failed for weeks to conquer, and repositioned in the east.
Since the beginning of its invasion, Russia has been trying to capture the southern port city of Mariupol by subjecting it to multiple airborne attacks and besieging it.
Taking Mariupol would give Russia control of the land route from Crimea to the eastern Donbas region, which is heavily controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists.
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