Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow is expanding its military objectives in Ukraine and aims to seize control of entire southern regions.
Nearly five months after the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion, Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti and RT that Russia’s military targets now go beyond the so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and include areas where Russian forces have already made gains, including the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and a “number of other territories.”
Following failed peace talks in Istanbul in late March, Russia had said it would scale back its targets to focus on eastern Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin’s initial invasion had also targeted Kyiv from its outset on February 24, but was met with fierce Ukrainian resistance. However, the geography of battle has now changed, Lavrov added.
The foreign minister’s remarks come as Russia makes slow but steady progress on Ukraine’s eastern front, capturing the entire Luhansk region earlier this month.
Lavrov also warned the West that Russia will expand its objectives even further if NATO allies continue to supply Ukraine with long-range weapons.
The West has already delivered billions of dollars of weaponry to Ukraine. Those arms have been helpful on the battlefield, Kyiv has said, as it pushes for more Western military equipment.
Victor Jack contributed reporting.