MOSCOW | The leader of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk region on Wednesday called on Russia to conquer most of Ukraine, including its capital Kyiv, saying the country's main cities were Russian.
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"Today the time has come to liberate Russian cities, founded by Russians: Kyiv, Cherniguiv, Poltava, Odessa, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhya, Lutsk," wrote Denis Pushilin on Telegram, on the occasion of the anniversary of the liberation by the Soviets of the city of Brest, Belarus, after its occupation by the Nazis.
The cities mentioned by Mr. Pushilin, placed in power by Moscow, cover almost all of the Ukrainian geography.
Russia officially launched its offensive in Ukraine on February 24, claiming to protect the Russian-speaking populations of the east from an alleged genocide orchestrated by the Ukrainian authorities.
Her assault on Kyiv failed, but she conquered much of southern and eastern Ukraine, at the cost of still-ongoing deadly fighting and heavy destruction.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied the reality of a Ukrainian nation, considering that it has been artificially separated from Russia.
He assured that he did not want to occupy his neighbor, but the occupation authorities put in place in southern Ukraine by Moscow are openly preparing the annexation of these regions.