Russian official says country wants full control of southern Ukraine
Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said Russia is aiming to take full control of southern and eastern Ukraine during the war.
The control would give Russia access from Crimea to Transnistria, a breakaway part of Moldova occupied by Russia, according to Reuters.
This is the first time Russia has admitted to ambitions of territorial gains during its invasion of Ukraine and threatened Moldova.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not comment on the matter when asked Friday, according to Reuters.
Ukraine has pointed to the comments as proof the war will expand outside their country.
“They are not going to stop. The command of the russian central military district announced the next victim of the russian aggression,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry tweeted. “After gaining control over the southern Ukraine, russia plans to invade Moldova, where they say russian speakers are being ‘oppressed.’”
Russian forces have refocused their effort to eastern Ukraine after not making significant gains following two months of fighting.
As the invasion continues, Ukraine continues to accuse Russia of war crimes while President Biden has called the attacks a “genocide.”
The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in aid that included weapons the country needs to fight off Russian forces.
The U.S. and other Western countries have said they would not get directly involved in the war unless Russia attacked a NATO country.
However, the NATO alliance also says the situation could change if Russia begins using nuclear or chemical weapons.
Ukraine has already accused Russian forces of using chemical weapons, targeting civilians and raping women and children.
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