Putin 'driving troops to their death' – Russian leader launches desperate bargain chip bid

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However, he claimed the “main goal” of the operation has always been “to help the people in Donbas” – the area that contains two separatist regions that are the focus of the latest offensives.

The Russian-backed separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, had attempted to break away following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Whereas the initial full-frontal assault on Ukraine this year suggested Russia may be looking to annex the entire country, the Russian military’s new attack could be intended to secure control of these lands near the border.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations have been meeting for peace negotiations since the early phases of the conflict, but have so far yielded no meaningful agreements.



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