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ISW: Putin Makes New Territorial Claims To Ukraine

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ISW: Putin Makes New Territorial Claims To Ukraine

US analysts have revealed the Kremlin's plans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his maximalist territorial claims against Ukraine. This was reported by analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to the 31 January report, the Kremlin leader said that pushing the current front line deeper into Ukraine was the main goal for Russian troops in the entire theatre of operations. Putin said that a 'demilitarised' zone should be created in Ukraine so that Russian territory, including the occupied regions, would be out of range of artillery systems and long-range weapons.

Analysts say Putin's stated goal is impossible to achieve as long as there is an independent Ukraine. Moscow plans to continue annexing Ukrainian territory that Russian forces can seize.

In addition, Putin has included Kharkiv in his 'demilitarised zone'. Such rhetoric, analysts say, is necessary for the Russian president to capitalise on rumours of an unlikely attack by the occupiers on the Kharkiv region from the direction of Belgorod.

ISW noted that Putin intends to intensify discussions on this issue in order to distract Ukraine's attention from the Russian forces' offensive in the Luhansk region. However, analysts believe that Russian forces in the Belgorod region can only carry out tactical actions.

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