April 13, 2024

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The Kremlin: Russia is in a "state of war" in Ukraine for the first time |  News of the Russian-Ukrainian war

The Kremlin: Russia is in a “state of war” in Ukraine for the first time | News of the Russian-Ukrainian war

The Kremlin has for two years referred to its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” and not a war.

More than two years after the invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin said that Russia considered itself in a state of “war” due to the West’s interference and support for its neighbour.

Until now, the Kremlin has insisted that the attack on Ukraine, which it ordered on February 24, 2022, was merely a “special military operation” to ensure the “demilitarization and de-Nazification of Russia’s neighbour.” This term implied that the operation was of limited scope, while the use of the broader term “war” was effectively banned.

“We are at war. Yes, it started as a special military operation, but once this group was formed, when the collective West became involved in this alongside Ukraine, it became a war for us,” Facts, a weekly newspaper based in the country, said.

“I'm sure of that. And everyone should understand that, for their own inner motivations.

Peskov's comments came five days after Russian President Vladimir Putin was re-elected for another six-year term and after what Kiev said was the largest Russian air strike on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

These statements seem to indicate that Russia is looking forward to a longer confrontation over Ukraine with the United States and its allies.

Russian officials have also gradually begun to use the word “war” more often, having acknowledged that the fighting is now set to last longer than initially thought.

But the Kremlin's change in the tone of its military operations in Ukraine gives Russian authorities more space for its people to announce decisions more commonly associated with war, such as further mobilization, according to analysts.

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“Now it is official: the special military operation is recognized as a war,” Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the analysis company R.Politik, told the Reuters news agency.

“Of course, the SMO became a de facto war a long time ago, but these are certain psychological limits, beyond which different demands can be made of both the population and the elites than during the SMO,” she added.

Mark Galeotti, author of several books on Putin and Russia, shared a similar view on the social media platform X.

“This ‘internal mobilization’ is actually the main thing: the Kremlin’s demand that every Russian enter into a war mentality, and realize that there is now no compromise between being a patriot and a traitor (as Putin defines these two).”

In later comments to reporters, Peskov clarified that Russia's actions in Ukraine still legally qualify at home as a “special military operation” and not a war.

“But in reality, it has become a war for us as the collective West directly increases its level of involvement in the conflict,” he added.

Russia still occupies nearly a fifth of Ukraine, including Crimea, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Tens of thousands of people, including many civilians, have been killed in fighting on the ground, as well as in ongoing Russian attacks using missiles and drones.

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Peskov stressed that Russia must fully “liberate” its “new regions” to ensure the safety of people there, referring to the four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia – which Russia claimed to have annexed in 2022 but does not fully control.

He added that Russia cannot allow the presence of a country on its borders that has shown its willingness to use any means to control the Crimean Peninsula.

Meanwhile, Kiev says Russia's annexation of the four regions is an illegal land grab, and is also intent on returning the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014.