Russia’s military “do not exclude” taking surrounded Ukrainian cities under their “full control”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the beginning of the military attack on Ukraine ordered armed forces to refrain from an immediate assault on the country’s cities, including Kiev, in order to prevent heavy losses among the civilian population, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed.
Speaking to the journalists on Monday, Peskov said that planning of the “military operation” in Ukraine involved taking into account the strategy of “armed nationalist formations” allegedly deploying weapons in densely populated residential areas.
He apparently refuted the Ukrainian authorities’ accusations of indiscriminate shelling of the cities, stressing that the Russian military “are working with modern high-precision weapons, hitting only military and information infrastructure facilities.”
“At the beginning of the operation, the President of Russia did indeed instruct the Ministry of Defense to refrain from an immediate assault on large settlements, including Kyiv, since armed nationalist formations are equipping firing points, deploying heavy military equipment right in residential areas; and fighting in densely populated areas would inevitably lead to heavy losses among civilians,” Peskov said.
Putin’s press secretary revealed that the Russian Ministry of Defense “does not exclude” the possibility of placing those large settlements which are almost surrounded now, “under its full control” to ensure maximum security for the civilian population.
He refuted Western media reports, also denied by Beijing, that Moscow allegedly requested military assistance from China, saying that Russia “has the potential to carry out an operation in Ukraine,” that the operation is going “according to the plan” and will be completed “in time and in full.” When exactly the operation is due to end, Peskov did not say, explaining that such information “is not being revealed.”
Commenting on the reports that Chechnya’s head Ramzan Kadyrov, whose threats to the Ukrainian military have been widely publicized, is now at the war zone in Ukraine, Peskov said that “there is no such information” in the Kremlin. He also advised the reporters to address the questions about Kadyrov’s whereabouts to the Chechen leader’s office.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
The German-and-French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state. Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.