MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is progressing successfully and is going to plan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting on measures of socioeconomic support for the country’s regions.
"The operation is developing successfully, in strict accordance with the approved plans," he stressed.
According to the Russian leader, "Ukraine, instigated by the United States and some Western countries, was deliberately gearing up for a violent scenario, a bloodbath and ethnic cleansings in Donbass."
"A massive assault on Donbass and then on Crimea was only a matter of time and our Armed Forces thwarted those plans," he said.
The Russian president pointed out that "not only was Kiev making preparations for war, for aggression against Russia, against Donbass, it was waging it."
"They never ceased attempts to organize sabotage acts and the terrorist underground in Crimea. Throughout the recent years, hostilities continued in Donbass, peaceful settlements were shelled," he said adding that nearly 14,000 civilians, including children, had been killed.
On February 24, Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics. Russia demands that Ukraine should be demilitarized and de-Nazified, should have a non-aligned and non-nuclear status, should recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.