- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Shoigu: Russia to Focus on Liberation of Donbass as Main Goals of First Phase of Ukraine Op Achieved

© Russian Defence Ministry / Go to the mediabankRussian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu  - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.03.2022
President Vladimir Putin ordered to launch a special operation on 24 February describing its key goals as the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine. The operation was prompted by a request from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) to defend them against attacks by Kiev's forces.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has stated that Russia has completed the main objectives of the first phase of the special military operation currently being carried out in Ukraine.
The combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces has been significantly reduced and now Russian forces can focus on achieving the main goal – "the liberation of Donbass", Shoigu said during a meeting at the Defence Ministry. The Russian minister noted that the Ukrainian Air Force and air defences have been practically eliminated and its navy ceased to exist following the start of the operation.
"The Russian armed forces will continue the special military operation until the set goals are achieved", Shoigu said.
Shoigu also reported successes in combating foreign mercenaries that arrived in Ukraine over the past month. Some 600 foreign mercenaries were killed and 500 more decided to leave Ukraine voluntarily, the minister said.

West's Shipments of Weapons to Ukraine Are Reckless

The Russian defence minister further condemned the West's decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, calling the move "reckless". He noted that Kiev is "mindlessly" handing out those weapons to the local population and mercenaries, adding that this might create threats to Europeans themselves in the future.
Russia will also respond "adequately" if foreign countries start supplying Ukraine with jets and air defence systems, Shoigu said without elaborating further. So far, the West has only supplied man-portable anti-air weapons to Ukraine and refrained from shipping any fighter jets amid fears of escalating tensions with Moscow.
Shoigu further pointed to the "mindless" use of certain weapons by Ukraine in various regions.
"A real threat to civil shipping was created in the Black Sea. The Turkish military neutralised two sea mines off the coast of Romania and the Bosphorus", the minister said.
Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February in response to a request from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR) to defend them against attacks by the Ukrainian military and nationalist battalions. Both republics had suffered from intense shelling for over a week by that moment.
Announcing the operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin described its main goals as the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine. The Russian delegation at the peace talks with Kiev discussed the county's neutral status and refusal to join NATO, as one of the key points for an agreement that would end the special operation.
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