Russia, which for weeks has denied plans to invade Ukraine, said Thursday it aims to neutralize Ukraine's "military potential" as it launched attacks on the country.
In a briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's attack on Ukraine was "dictated only by our national interests and concern for the future."
"These are the only goals," he said. "No one talks about occupation, this word does not apply here. Russia’s aim is neutralization of Ukraine’s military potential."
After weeks of denying plans to invade, Putin justified his actions in an overnight televised address, asserting that the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine — a false claim the U.S. had predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion. He accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and for security guarantees.
NATO meanwhile called Russia’s attack on Ukraine “entirely unjustified and unprovoked” in a statement on Thursday.
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