With the Russian military operation in Ukraine now in its fifth month, Russia in control of the Luhansk region and fighting in Donetsk continuing, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that a serious stage has not yet begun.
Putin made it clear at a meeting with faction leaders in the State Duma on Thursday that Russia has yet to embark on any of its major tasks in Ukraine.
He stated that Russia has not yet started anything serious in Ukraine, explaining that “everyone should know that, in general, we have not started anything serious.”
He added: “We are told, today we hear that we started a war in the Donbass, in Ukraine. No, it was started by this collective West, which organized and supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine in 2014, then encouraged and justified the genocide of the people of Donbass.”
He pointed out that, in his words, “this collective West itself is the direct instigator and culprit of what is happening today.”
This comes as Russian forces in eastern Ukraine continue to put pressure on Ukrainian forces that are trying to hold a line along the northern border of the Donetsk region in preparation for an expected new offensive on it.
Having captured the city of Lischansk on Sunday and consolidated its full control over the Luhansk region of Ukraine, Moscow has made no secret of its intention to seize parts of the neighboring Donetsk region that it has not yet established. Kyiv still controls some major cities.