MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine will continue until all the tasks set by Russian President Vladimir Putin are accomplished in full, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the ministry’s conference call on Tuesday.
The lives and health of the Russian military personnel and the safety of civilians are top priority tasks, the defense minister emphasized.
TASS offers highlights of the defense minister’s speech.
Prospects of the operation
The Russian troops are not going to halt their operations after completely liberating the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic, the defense chief said.
"The special military operation will continue until the tasks set by the supreme commander-in-chief are accomplished in full," he emphasized.
Priorities for Russia’s Defense Ministry
"The main priorities for us today are the lives and health of the military personnel and the safety of civilians," Shoigu said.
The Russian defense chief did not specify the tasks and directions for the Russian troops to focus on. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on July 5 that he had received proposals from generals on moving ahead with the advance and stressed that the units, which had participated in liberating the Lugansk People’s Republic, should get a rest while the Vostok and Zapad battlegroups should "keep implementing their tasks under the previously approved plans."
West-supplied weapons for Kiev regime
"In its hope to stretch out the conflict in Ukraine, the collective West continues large-scale weapons supplies to the Kiev regime. More than 28,000 tonnes of military cargo have already been supplied to that country," Shoigu pointed out.
The Russian defense chief emphasized that some of the West-supplied weapons were spreading across the Middle East region and also getting into the black market."
"The number of foreign mercenaries and the staff of private military companies operating in the country [in Ukraine] has dwindled as a result of the successful advance by the Russian army and units of the [Donbass] people’s republics," Shoigu said.
In particular, in the past ten days alone, 170 mercenaries have been killed and 99 others have refused to participate in combat operations and left Ukrainian territory, the defense chief said.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported in mid-June that 3,221 foreign mercenaries and military specialists remained on Ukrainian territory while their inflow into Ukraine "has not only stopped but is actually reversing the opposite way."
The Russian troops continue providing all-embracing support to the population of liberated cities and "efforts to ensure peaceful life on the territories controlled by the Russian troops will continue," Shoigu said.
Also, Moscow provides for the safety of shipping in the Black and Azov Seas, the Russian defense chief stressed.
"We have set up two humanitarian corridors for the shipping of civilian sea-going vessels. The mine danger in the waters of the port of Mariupol has been completely removed," Shoigu said.
Russian army engineers combed over 3,700 hectares of liberated territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics for the presence of mines, uncovered and defused 46,379 explosives, the Russian defense chief said.