HAVANA, February 24. /TASS/. Russia does not intend to invade Ukraine, it is helping the republics that were recognized as independent by Moscow, Head of the Russian State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky told journalists on Thursday.
"We do not intend to unleash any war. We are not going to invade Ukraine as we are being accused of in Ukraine itself and not only there," the lawmaker said.
"This is precisely about ensuring security within the contemporary borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk [People’s] republics (DPR and LPR - TASS)," he added.
The legislator assured that there are "no aggressive plans with regards to Kiev in particular, despite Kiev’s aggressive behavior in recent years and months being heated up" by the West which supplied lethal weapons.
The head of the Duma committee said that he hoped that there will be no provocations during the operation "but one can expect anything from those people who are in charge in Kiev today with the complicity of Western puppet masters for the sake of attempting to distort Russia’s image in the global political space."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.