Kremlin says military campaign in Ukraine to continue at least until capture of all of Donetsk region

MOSCOW, Sept 28 (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Wednesday its “special military operation” in Ukraine must continue at least until the capture of all of east Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) – a breakaway Russian-backed entity that has been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014 – controls only part of the wider territory which it claims.

“Therefore it is necessary, as a minimum, to liberate the entire territory of the DPR,”, he said.

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Russia has framed its military campaign in Ukraine as necessary to protect Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, of which Donetsk makes up half, from “genocide” by Ukraine. Both Kyiv and Western countries say this is a figleaf for an imperial-style land grab.

Though Russia already controls almost all of Luhansk region, the other half of the Donbas, it holds only around 60% of Donetsk region.

The Moscow-backed entities in Donetsk and Luhansk, alongside two other Russian-occupied regions in southern Ukraine, are seeking to become part of Russia after they completed on Tuesday what Kyiv and Western governments described as sham referendums on joining Russia.

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Reporting by Reuters

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