Russia Denies Wanting to Replace Ukrainian Local Government
Russia has no plans to replace the local government in the occupied areas in Ukraine. According to news agency TASS, the Kremlin spokesman said that there are absolutely no plans for this.
Instead, the “special military operation” launched on February 24 is to take out Ukraine’s military infrastructure.
Russia states that it does not target civilians, does not want to conquer or occupy territories and generally does not want to fight in cities. But President Vladimir Putin also said he launched the attack because far-right groups and militias are said to persecute ethnic Russians. He, therefore, wants to “denazify” Ukraine, which seems to indicate a political upheaval.
Since the attack started, Russia has conquered almost 50,000 square kilometres of Ukraine (the area of the Netherlands is almost 42,000 km2). Still, Kherson in the south seems to be the only major city that has been attacked and taken.
Bloody fighting is raging for the southeastern city of Mariupol, but Moscow is constantly reporting eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian separatist forces attacking there. Far-right militias mainly defend the city. In the north, in a month of fighting, no serious attempts have been made to take the major cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv.