what is Russia doing by announcing the expansion of the conflict?

As the Russian army slowly advances in eastern Ukraine, Moscow has announced larger operations that it may not own militarily.

Vladimir Putin warned, Russia “has not started serious things” in Ukraine. Almost 150 days after the start of what is still called a “military operation” by Moscow and after an “operational pause” of a few days after significant progress in Donbass, Russia wants to continue its invasion.

During an interview given on Wednesday, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, expanded his country’s goals to other territories.

“It’s not just the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, it’s also the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia and a series of other territories and this process continues, steadily,” he detailed. He justified this change by a “different geography” compared to the state of the land at the end of March.

The comments were echoed by Sergei Shoigu, Russian Minister of Defense, who last week urged his soldiers to intensify attacks and strikes “in all operational sectors” of the war. The latter also gave the necessary instructions to increase military pressure on the territory of Ukraine.

How far is it from Kyiv?

From a military perspective, what do these words mean? “This is very worrying,” said our defense consultant Jérôme Pellistrandi to BFMTV.

“What is worrying is that we are in the tone of war. Lavrov said that it is not worth the negotiation, it is a conflict that during the military consequences but also in the economy, with the cereal crisis. We are in in a tunnel and we will not see the end of it”, he assured.

What then is the purpose of Russia? In the early days of the conflict, the secret ambition of Moscow and Vladimir Putin was to completely control the country and to overthrow the current power in Moscow, that of Volodymyr Zelensky.

After a long trampling of the capital, the Russian army strategically refocuses on Donbass but should not lose sight of this purpose, estimated the pillars of world Cédric Pietralunga, who covers the conflict for the night every day.

“The initial goal was and probably remains for the Kremlin to install a pro-Moscow power in Kyiv. […] The goal is to strangle Ukraine economically, by cutting off its access to the Black Sea”, he believes, stressing that if Russia is content with Donbass, then it remains at the mercy of a “big counter-offensive that aims to recover all that has been conquered. territories.

On a smaller scale, Moscow is also likely to want to protect new territorial conquests, including the Kherson region, which should officially become Russian after a referendum in the coming days. In fact, around the city, Russia wants to advance further and prevent a Ukrainian attack there.

Unattainable goals?

However, it is not certain that Moscow has the means to match its ambitions. This Thursday at noon, the regional governor of the Kharkiv region announced that two people were killed and 19 were injured in the Russian bombardment with rocket launchers. The return of large Russian maneuvers, or the desire to prolong the strategy of fear and destruction that has been used since the beginning of the conflict?

For General Pellistrandi, Lavrov’s words were “quite contrary to the ground.” “We can see that the offensive in Donbass is struggling to progress, it’s been 90 days since it started. There have been conquests but it has stopped,” he said.

An opinion shared by Yuriy Sak, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, who on our antenna this Thursday was surprised by the exit of the Russian diplomat. “This statement of the aggressor country has no meaning,” he began, assuring that the Ukrainian army is trying to recover the lost territories in the East.

“For a long time, the aggressor fired missiles in all cities of Ukraine, regardless of regions. It has been five months since the terror of missiles was in Ukraine, the area has been expanded, it is not a bag -o “, assured the latter, calling on the Westerners to continue the delivery of weapons in the direction of his country.

Opening negotiations?

These weapons are, precisely, one of Russia’s points of tension. In his speech, Sergei Lavrov, to justify his expansionist ambitions, assured that his country will not leave “the part of Ukraine that Zelensky controls” weapons “that directly threaten our territory.”

However, if the latter assures that any negotiations are currently useless and impossible in Ukraine, this new exit may open new diplomatic horizons.

“The feeling we have is that both sides want a significant victory against the one who negotiates, but for now, we are only at war”, concluded General Pellistrandi.

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