Russia ‘Plans To Seize Southern Ukraine’

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Russia ‘Plans To Seize Southern Ukraine’

Russia aims to seize southern Ukraine and to open a route to the separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova, a senior Russian general has said.

Maj Gen Rustam Minnekayev specified that Moscow would seek to take “full control” over the south in addition to the eastern Donbas region – the stated objective of the Russian authorities.

Transnistria is a small Russian-backed region that borders Ukraine.

It is unclear if Gen Minnekayev’s comments were officially sanctioned.

Russian defence officials told the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg that they were “looking into” the general’s comments, which – if confirmed – offer the first insight into Russia’s potential plans in the coming weeks.

Moldova has summoned Moscow’s ambassador over the comments.

Meanwhile, a senior EU official has told Reuters that Russia is likely to intensify its attacks in eastern Ukraine and along the southern coast in the coming days, adding that the next two weeks may be decisive in the war.