Russia seeks to 'liberate' east Ukraine: Defence minister

AFP , Tuesday 19 Apr 2022

Russia's defence minister on Tuesday said Moscow was seeking to "liberate" east Ukraine, but accused the West of dragging out the military operation by supplying Kyiv with arms.

Sergei Shoigu.
Russia s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

"We are gradually implementing our plan to liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics," Sergei Shoigu said in reference to eastern Ukraine's two rebel regions, which Moscow has recognised as independent states.

"We are taking measures to restore peaceful life," he said in a televised meeting with Russian military commanders.

Shoigu's comments came after Kyiv accused Russia of unleashing a major new offensive in eastern Ukraine, marking the second stage of Moscow's nearly two-month military operation in the former Soviet state.

But Shoigu laid the blame for the bloodshed on Washington and its Western allies.

"The United States and Western states under its control are doing everything to drag out the military operation for as long as possible," he said.

"The growing volume of foreign weapons supplies graphically demonstrate their intention to provoke the Kyiv regime to fight to the last Ukrainian."

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