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Russia to continue Ukraine operation until goals achieved: Shoigu

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Russia will continue with the offensive in Ukraine until its “goals are achieved,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday, almost a week after Moscow’s invasion.

“Russian armed forces will continue to conduct the special military operation until set goals are achieved,” Shoigu told at a press conference aired on state television. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP) he said Moscow aims to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine, as well as protect Russia from a “military threat created by Western countries.”

Shoigu said Moscow’s main goal was protecting itself from threats created by the West and said Russia was not occupying Ukraine’s territory.

“The Russian army does not occupy Ukrainian territory and takes all measures to preserve the lives and safety of civilians,” he said. “Protecting Russia from the military threat from the West is the main task of the special operation in Ukraine.”

Despite various video images and pictures and witnesses’ claims, Shoigu said Russian airstrikes during the operation are carried out only on military targets and exclusively with high-precision weapons.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov said Moscow continues to consider Volodymyr Zelenskyy the legitimate president of Ukraine. However, he added that a conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy is not yet planned.

Zelenskyy on Monday said he had signed an official request for his country to join the European Union. He posted photos of himself signing the application and his office said the paperwork was on its way to Brussels, where the 27-nation European Union is headquartered.

The announcement came after the president urged the bloc to grant his country immediate membership under a special procedure, as Russia’s assault against the pro-Western country entered its fifth day.

“We appeal to the European Union for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure,” the 44-year-old leader said in a video address earlier on Monday. “Our goal is to be together with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing. I’m sure it’s fair. I’m sure it’s possible.”

During his video address, he also urged Russian soldiers to lay down their weapons and leave as Ukrainian and Russian delegations held talks on Moscow’s invasion.

Peskov noted Tuesday that Ukraine’s application to join the EU “lies on a different plane,” because the EU is not a military-political bloc (unlike NATO) and Kyiv’s desire to join the EU is fixed in the Constitution of Ukraine.

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