February 22, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russia’s Medvedev declares Ukraine government ‘must be destroyed, must not remain in the world’

Institute for the Study of War

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia would likely have to seize Kyiv sooner or later while identifying Russia’s possible further territorial objectives in Ukraine. Medvedev responded in an interview published on February 22 to a question asking if there will “still be any part of Ukraine left that [Russia] will consider as a legitimate state, whose borders [Russia] will be ready to recognize.” Medvedev stated that Russia must “ensure its interests” by achieving the goals of the “special military operation” as laid out by Russian President Vladimir Putin – referring to Russian demands for Ukraine’s “demilitarization,” “denazification,” and neutrality. Medvedev reiterated Russia’s intention of changing the in Ukraine, stating that the Ukrainian government “must fall, it must be destroyed, it must not remain in this world.” Medvedev claimed that Russia must create a “protective cordon” in order to protect against “encroachments on [Russia’s] lands,” including shelling and active offensive operations. Medvedev stated that he does not know where Russia should “stop” but that Russia “probably” must seize and occupy Kyiv “if not now then after some time.” Medvedev claimed that Kyiv is historically a “Russian” city from where “international” threats to Russia’s existence currently originate. Medvedev also labeled Odesa a historical “Russian” city. Putin similarly emphasized on January 31 the idea of a “demilitarized” or “sanitary” zone in Ukraine. ISW previously assessed that Putin’s statements about creating a “protective” zone in which Russia’s claimed and actual territories are out of Ukrainian firing range actually mean that Russia cannot accept the existence of any independent Ukraine with the ability to defend itself. Medvedev, however, also claimed that “if … something remains of Ukraine,” then it “probably” has a low chance of survival and reiterated his previous comments about a possible Ukrainian rump state in Lviv Oblast while alluding to the fact that this area was Polish territory earlier in history. Medvedev’s comments continue to indicate that the Kremlin has returned to its domestic narrative that Russia is fighting the war to “liberate its historic lands.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia would likely have to seize Kyiv sooner or later while identifying Russia’s possible further territorial objectives in Ukraine.
  • Medvedev’s mention of Russia’s possible intentions to occupy Odesa may be worth noting in light of recent developments in the pro-Russian breakaway republic of Transnistria in Moldova, the southern tip of which is about 50 kilometers from the city.
  • Medvedev also described Russian plans to repress Ukrainian citizens in occupied Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) leaders and Republic of Tatarstan Head Rustam Minnikhanov on February 21 and 22.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted another successful strike against a Russian training ground in occupied Kherson Oblast on February 21 and likely inflected significant casualties.
  • Ukraine’s European and Western allies continue to ramp up their support for Ukraine.
  • Russian opposition outlet Proekt reported on February 22 that the Russian government has subjected at least 116,000 Russians to criminal and administrative charges since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fourth term in office in 2018.
  • Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated on February 22 that the Kremlin does not regard Russian military correspondents (voyenkory) and milbloggers as participants of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, shortly after the suicide of a prominent Russian milblogger on February 21.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • A Russian insider source claimed that Russian officials have postponed creating Rosgvardia’s 1st Volunteer Corps from remaining Wagner Group detachments because of an ongoing rotation of former Wagner personnel in Africa.
  • Russia continues to export its state policies on systemic religious persecution to occupied Ukraine.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-february-22-2024 

Share the Post: