The Kremlin said on Monday that Russian forces could take full control of major Ukrainian cities and it had sufficient military clout to fulfil all of its aims in Ukraine without any help from China.
The United States and its European allies have cast President Vladimir Putin’s invasion as an imperial-style land grab that they say has so far been poorly executed because Moscow underestimated Ukrainian resistance and Western resolve to punish Russia.
“The defense ministry of the Russian Federation, while ensuring the maximum safety of the civilian population, does notexclude the possibility of taking major population centers under full control,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
Peskov said claims by the United States and European Unionthat Putin was somehow disappointed with the progress of what the Kremlin casts as a special military operation amounted to a provocation aimed at prompting Russia to storm cities.
The United States, Peskov said, had shown its complete disregard for human life with the bombing of Yugoslavia and itscapital Belgrade in 1999, its wars in the Middle East and the invasion of Afghanistan.
“We don’t need advice from such strategists,” Peskov said. “All the plans of the Russian leadership will be achieved on time and in full.”
Peskov said Putin had at the start of the operation explicitly asked the defense ministry to avoid storming major cities such as Kyiv because he thought Ukrainians units would use civilians as shields.
He said some Ukrainian cities were already surrounded by Russian forces.
When asked about remarks by US officials who had said that Russia had asked China for military equipment, Peskov said: “No.”
“Russia possesses its own independent potential to continue the operation. As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full.”