Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the goal of what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine was to “end the war in the eastern Donbass,” Ria Novosti reported.
Meeting with WWII veterans and survivors of the Leningrad siege, Putin reportedly said that in fact “since 2014 there has been no cessation of full-scale hostilities in the Donbass – with heavy equipment, artillery, tanks and aircraft. .”
“Everything we are doing today, including special military operations, is aimed at ending this war. This is the meaning of our actions,” Putin said, according to RIA Novosti, and to protect the people living in these territories. “
In late December, Putin used the term “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, the first public departure from his carefully crafted description of the Moscow invasion as a “special military operation.”
More about Donbass: The industrial zone covers much of eastern Ukraine and has been a front line in the country’s conflict with Moscow since 2014. Over the past century, Donbass’ long industrial pull has attracted people from all over Eastern Europe and has developed strong social and economic ties to neighboring Russia and the rest of Ukraine.
Its distance from the capital, Kyiv, and other metropolitan centers has sparked plenty of local movements and is the backdrop for pro-Russian separatists trying to seize control after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the capture of parts of Donbass by Russian-backed rebels brought a period of growing prosperity to an abrupt end.
The war broke out in 2014 after Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian town. Heavy fighting has left parts of Lugansk and Donetsk in the hands of Russia-backed separatists.
CNN’s Rob Picheta reported on this article.