Russia should have gone for a complete conquest and annexation of Donbas back in 2014, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said during a staged meeting with “mothers of Russian soldiers” on Nov. 25.
He also alleged that Moscow “sincerely” tried to implement the Minsk Accords it signed with Kyiv in 2014.
“We assumed we could have reached an agreement (with Ukraine), that Luhansk and Donetsk would somehow be able to reunite with Ukraine, following the Minsk agreements,” Russian media outlet Smotri quotes Putin.
“We sincerely worked towards this goal, but we didn’t really feel the mood of local people… But now it’s obvious that this reunification (occupation and annexation of parts of Donbas) should have happened earlier – maybe then there wouldn’t have been so many casualties among civilians and children. Well, at least it happened eventually.”
After former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in 2014, Moscow moved to occupy and annex Crimea, followed by an invasion of Donbas. When Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, he cited “protecting the people of Donbas” as one of the aims of the military campaign.
After nine months of the war, the Kremlin still falls short of controlling the entire Donetsk Oblast. Heavy fighting continues in the region.