Russia Is Ready to Push Further Into Ukraine: Lavrov

He says the 'geography' of the conflict has changed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2022 12:29 AM CDT
Russia May Seek More Territory in Ukraine: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov walks after his bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Friday, July 8, 2022.   (Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP)

Russia is no longer interested in occupying only Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state media published Wednesday. After the US said it would give Ukraine more long-range weapons, Lavrov said that would force the Russian objectives to change, the BBC reports. "Now the geography is different,” Lavrov said, per the Guardian. “It’s not just Donetsk and Luhansk, it’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and a number of other territories. And this is an ongoing process, consistent and insistent." He said Russia would need to push further into Ukraine, specifically to the country's south, in order to create a buffer between it and the new weapons.

The Guardian notes this is a shift in rhetoric from the Russian government, and "the clearest signal yet that the Kremlin is preparing to launch a new round of annexations." A spokesperson for the US National Security Council had warned Tuesday that "Russia is beginning to roll out a version of what you could call an annexation playbook, very similar to the one we saw in 2014" when it annexed Crimea. He predicted the new annexations could come in September, coinciding with regional elections. In his interview, Lavrov said that Russia's previous openness to a Ukrainian proposal for an end to hostilities "was based on the geography of March 2022," which he said is now different, per Al Jazeera. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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