“I don’t know any borders except the borders of 1991,” Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov told the Wall Street Journal, in reference to the year Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union.
The Kremlin announced the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and Russia has lately focused its military offensive on the port city of Mariupol, which is along the Sea of Azov, and that achievement provides them with a land bridge from Crimea to eastern Ukraine.
“Who can force Ukraine to freeze the conflict? This is a war of all Ukrainians, and if someone in the world thinks that they can dictate to Ukraine the conditions under which it can or cannot defend itself, then they are seriously mistaken,” he added.
Russia’s invasion, which began nearly three months ago, has been a monumental failure for the military. The Russians haven’t achieved their main objective of toppling Kyiv, a mission they abandoned after facing a heavier than expected Ukrainian resistance. Instead, they have refocused their efforts on the Donbas region, which is in eastern Ukraine and has a heavy pro-Russian presence.
Russia’s Donbas offense “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule,” the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry said in an update earlier this week. “Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month,” adding that the delays “will almost certainly be exacerbated by the loss of critical enablers such as bridging equipment and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drones.”