Russia says it wants more than eastern Ukraine in war – 07/20/2022 – World

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that his country’s military expansion goals in the Ukrainian War, which the Kremlin calls the euphemism “special military operation”, are no longer concentrated in eastern Donbass. Ukrainian Russian.

The diplomat, who has headed Russian diplomacy for almost two decades, also said that the desired share of the neighboring country could increase if the West intensifies the sending of weapons and equipment to Kiev, as requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“We cannot allow Zelensky or whoever replaces him to have weapons that pose a threat to our territory and that of the republics that have declared independence,” he said of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Vladimir Putin acknowledged days before starting the military invasion. .

Lavrov’s statements, which update the stated Russian military objectives, were made to Russian broadcaster RT, and excerpts from them were transcribed by the state agency RIA. In March, Moscow, after suffering successive defeats on the outskirts of the capital Kiev, said its main objective in the war was “the liberation of Donbass”.

When invading Ukraine on February 24, Putin presented as justification the need to demilitarize and “denazify” the country that was part of the Soviet Union – a claim refuted by experts.

Russian troops conquered Lugansk province earlier this month and have since stepped up attacks to take neighboring Donetsk. Together, the two provinces form the Donbass region. There are also other territories under Russian rule, such as Kherson and Zaporijia.

The chancellor’s speeches come on the same day that Putin told a forum that a new world era is beginning.

In the words of the Russian leader quoted by the Tass news agency, “no matter how hard supranational elites have tried to maintain the existing world order, a new era is beginning, and truly sovereign nations can take the lead.”

The alleged new era, which he described as irreversible and harmonious, will pave the way for an alternative to unipolarity, Putin followed, in a message to the United States and the European Union (EU).

The European bloc, by the way, formalized on Wednesday the seventh package of sanctions against Moscow since the conflict in Eastern Europe began. This time, EU diplomats, following a recommendation from the European Commission, imposed a ban on imports of Russian gold and a freeze on the assets of Sberbank, the country’s main bank.

The package is due to take effect as early as this Thursday (21) and also includes more Russian people and organizations considered co-responsible for the war, announced the Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the bloc’s negotiations.

Earlier, the EU Executive, under the leadership of Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, announced a plan to mitigate dependence on Moscow that proposes to member countries to embrace the voluntary target of reducing natural gas consumption by 15% by the next year. month of March.

“Russia is blackmailing us, using energy as a weapon,” von der Leyen told a news conference in Brussels. “Whether it’s a partial cut or a total cut off of Russian gas: Europe needs to be ready.”

The main fear is the effects that cutting gas supplies could have during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, but there is also the economic burden. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released projections showing a 1.5% GDP shrinkage in Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, later this year if there is an interruption in Russian gas supplies.

According to the IMF, this scenario would harm the economy by falling on companies, as it would lead the country to ration the supply of gas to the industrial sector. As a consequence, there would be a decrease in the supply of intermediate goods and services, resulting in a decrease in economic activity.

Updated UN data show that, since the beginning of the war, more than 5,000 civilians have died as a result of the conflict — at least 343 of them children — and another 6,520 have been injured. There are still at least 6 million Ukrainian refugees living in European countries.

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