Russia is seeking to take full control of Ukraine’s eastern and southern parts. It seems that Russia is about to achieve its goal in the nearly two-month-long war.
In his daily address on Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Izyum direction, Donbas, the Azov coast, Mariupol, and Kherson Oblast are the places where the fate of this war and the future of our state are being decided now.
The attack on Ukraine is a grim warning for other small countries as well. Ukraine is the beginning of Russia. This way, Putin would sooner or later urge his troops to take over other nations.
“All the nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us. They must help us, because we are the first in line. And who will come next? ” Zelenskyy said.
The beleaguered Ukrainian leader’s remarks came amidst the Russian general’s repeatedly saying that the objective of the Kremlin is to take control of not only the eastern part of Ukraine, where fierce battle is in progress in the Donbas region. Russian troops are eyeing the southern part of Ukraine too.
Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s central military district, was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying that full control over southern Ukraine would give it access to Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west.
Putin justifies his action
Since the beginning of the war on February 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been justifying his invasion policy by saying his goal was “to protect the people that are subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime” and to “demilitarise and denazify Ukraine.”
In a blistering attack on Moscow, Zelenskyy said the only territory where Russia should protect the rights of Russian speakers is Russia itself. He also slammed Russia as a country where there is “no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice, no right to dissent, where poverty thrives and human life is worthless.”
Grim situation in Donbas, Mariupol
The industrial hub of Ukraine’s Donbas is now on the receiving end. Several cities and villages have come under bombardment. Incessant firing by the Russian troops on about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters holed up inside the extensive Azovstal plant. It is considered the last pocket of resistance in the southern port city of Mariupol. A huge number of civilians have been put in steel plants as refugees.
While Putin has declared victory in the battle for Mariupol, Zelenskyy has asserted that the devastated city “continues to resist” despite being reduced to a smoking ruin after relentless Russian attacks.
Military experts say that Moscow is attempting to create a land bridge connecting annexed Crimea and the Russian-based separatist regions in the Donbas region. For this, it must establish total control over Mariupol.