Putin threatens to seize more territory in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to order troops to take more land in Ukraine in order to protect Russian territory, he said in remarks on Tuesday.

The assertion comes as Ukraine begins a long-awaited counteroffensive in the country’s south and east, claiming small victories that have been disputed by the Russian government. Putin said Ukraine has suffered “catastrophic” losses in their probing attacks into Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine, however Ukrainian officials have so far called the offensive a success.

He also reiterated claims that the Kakhovka dam was destroyed intentionally by Ukraine. The dam failed two weeks ago causing massive flooding in Ukraine’s south, displacing many people and threatening agriculture in the region as well as military movements.

The Ukrainian government, on the other hand, has blamed the Russians for the resulting humanitarian crisis.

Putin’s threat to take more territory would create a “sanitary zone” on Ukrainian land before the Russian border in order to prevent any Ukrainian attack into Russia itself, he said.

Last month, Russian irregulars supporting Ukraine raided border crossings and small towns in Russia, taking combat to Russian soil for one of the first times in the nearly 14-month-long conflict. Drone strikes have also thrust into Russia for the first time in recent weeks, though the Ukrainian government has denied its direct involvement in both attacks.

Also in the two-hour meeting with war bloggers and journalists, Putin threatened to pull out of a United Nations deal to allow Ukrainian grain shipments through the Black Sea.

Those shipments have kept the Ukrainian economy afloat and have alleviated some global food shortages caused by the war’s disruptions to food supply chains. Before the conflict, Ukraine was the world’s fifth largest wheat exporter, according to U.N. data.

The U.S. announced a new $325 million aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday, consisting of additional rocket systems and air defenses.

Overnight Tuesday morning, Russia launched a set of strikes on Kyiv and Central Ukraine, killing 11 people in the small town of Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Russian killers continue their war against residential buildings, ordinary cities and people,” Zelensky said on Telegram.


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