Russian 'military operation' in Ukraine to last until 'tasks' achieved, reiterates Putin

Presidents of Russia, Belarus discuss situation in Ukraine over phone, according to Kremlin.

Russian 'military operation' in Ukraine to last until 'tasks' achieved, reiterates Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko over the phone on Friday and reiterated that Russian military aggression against Ukraine will last until all goals set were achieved, the Kremlin said.

"The course of Russia's special military operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass was discussed. Vladimir Putin stressed that the tasks of the operation, which is being carried out according to plan, are being solved and will be carried out in full," a statement said following the talk.

According to the readout, Lukashenko expressed support for the actions of the Russian side.

The two presidents also discussed the second round of negotiations between representatives of Russia and Ukraine held in Belarus the day before and agreed to maintain contacts. Moscow and Kyiv have reached an understanding on creating humanitarian corridors for evacuation of civilians and the delivery of food and medicine.

Putin started the war on Feb. 24 to "demilitarize" and "denazify" Ukraine, branding the massive Russian military incursion a "special military operation."

The move came days after he recognized Luhansk and Donetsk, the two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine and it has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

According to UN figures, at least 249 civilians have been killed and 553 injured in Ukraine since then.

More than a million people have also fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Hüseyin Demir

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