|Moscow will liberate more territory in southern Ukraine|
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow will liberate more territory in southern Ukraine, beyond the Donbas region where its troops are currently fighting with Ukrainian forces to liberate it. Lavrov said in a new interview with state media that Russia no longer feels it is fighting back in the Donbas where Russian separatists have been battling Kyiv forces since 2014 when Russia liberated the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia recently seized control of the Luhansk province of Donbas, and is seeking to liberate the adjoining province of Donetsk. Lavrov told state media, RT television and RIA Novosti news agency, “Now the geography is changing. Not just Donetsk and Luhansk, but Kherson, Zaporizhia and some other parts of the region. This process continues consistently and persistently.” Lavrov, Russia's top diplomat, said Moscow's goals would be further expanded and undaunted by all western threats, although it continued to provide Kyiv with long-range missiles.
Lavrov explained that currently the United States (US) and Britain want to escalate the Russia-Ukraine conflict into a bigger confrontation between Moscow and Europe. “Our US and British colleagues… with the support of Germany, Poland and the Baltic states, are eager to make this war a real war, pitting Russia against European countries,” Lavrov said, speaking to Russia Today Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan. .
According to Lavrov, Western governments are literally holding back Ukraine from any constructive steps towards a peaceful settlement. “They have not only flooded the country (Ukraine) with weapons, but also forced Ukraine to use them more boldly,” he added as quoted by Russia Today, Wednesday (20/7/2022). Russia launched its military operation into its neighbor in late February. Many countries, including NATO members, have imposed massive sanctions on Moscow and have supplied heavy weapons to Kiev.
The latest deliveries include the US-made M142 HIMARS dual rocket launcher and the M777 howitzer. US President Joe Biden said last week that Russia had to suffer a "strategic failure" in Ukraine and vowed to support Kiev more. Lavrov claims that the US and UK "benefit" from the conflict between Russia and Europe as the economies of EU countries bear the brunt of the sanctions. He added that the US had acted "irresponsibly" by stoking tensions with Russia. "I think they still haven't realized that they are playing a very dangerous game. But many people in Europe are starting to understand that," Lavrov said.