After about a month or so of embarrassing themselves in Ukraine, the Russian military began a long and protracted shift in goals that is apparently continuing to this day.
Russia expected a bit of a cakewalk, with the Kremlin having suggested that they would take the capital of Kyiv in just 72 hours. Now entering its 5th month, the invasion has seen Kyiv vanish from the priority list, with Putin’s troops now singularly focused on the eastern portion of the country where Russian separatists were already established.
The latest undulation from the front line appears to show another new goal of the Kremlin’s: Annexing large swaths of Ukraine for themselves.
The White House said Tuesday that it has intelligence to indicate Russia is taking steps to annex parts of Ukraine.
“We’re seeing ample evidence and intelligence and in the public domain that Russia intends to try to annex additional Ukrainian territory,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House.Trending:
Kirby added that the U.S. observed a similar Russian playbook in 2014 before the Kremlin annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea.
“Russia is installing illegitimate proxy officials in the areas of Ukraine that are under its control. We know their next moves,” Kirby said.
Kirby made it clear that this wasn’t going to fly under the radar.
“We want to make it plain to the American people. Nobody is fooled by it,” he added.
Ukraine has vowed to continue pushing back on Russia positions in the east, suggesting that they won’t allow any new annexations to take place and that they may wish to take Crimea back from the Kremlin as well.