Russia’s objectives in Ukraine have not changed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday during a press conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
“Nothing has changed,” Putin confirmed, saying that the final goal is “to liberate Donbass, to protect these people and to create conditions that would guarantee the safety of Russia itself. That’s it.”
The president clarified that while the goals stay the same, the tactics used to achieve them may change according to what the military considers appropriate. However, he insisted that “everything is going according to plan.”
“I’m not talking about deadlines, I never do, because that’s life, this is reality. Imposing deadlines is wrong, because it is related to the intensity of fighting, and the intensity is directly linked to the possible casualties. And we have to first and foremost think about preserving the lives of our guys,” he said.
Commenting on NATO Secretary-General’s confession that the bloc was getting ready for a conflict since 2014, Putin said that it was “nothing new” for Moscow. He added that for a long time, the US has been looking for an external enemy in order to rally the allies around Washington, and Russia was a better fit for that role than Iran.
Responding to questions about Finland and Sweden joining the bloc, Putin said that West’s portrayal of this as the defeat of Russia’s purpose of keeping NATO away is completely false.