SAMARKAND, September 16. /TASS/. Moscow launched the special military operation in order to prevent the emergence of an anti-Russian enclave in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while answering media questions on Friday following a visit to Samarkand.
"They (the Western countries - TASS) have wished to achieve the disintegration of our country all the way. That's for sure. It is regrettable that at some point there developed an idea of using Ukraine to this end," Putin said.
"In order to prevent such a march of events, we launched a special military operation. It is precisely this that the US-led Western countries have been after all along - to create an anti-Russian enclave and to threaten Russia from this direction," he explained.
Commenting on the question that Moscow's reaction to attempts by the Ukrainian armed forces to retaliate against targets on Russian territory was too restrained, the president said that he did not agree. "As for our restrained reaction, I would not say that it is so restrained," Putin pointed out. "The special military operation is not just another warning, it is a special military operation. Of course, in the course of it we see attempts to carry out some kind of terrorist attacks, attempts to damage our civilian infrastructure. "We do respond to this with restraint, but just for the time being," he warned.
Putin noted that some of the Russian army’s recent strong blows on Ukraine were just a warning and promised to strike harder in the future, if Kiev continued to cause damage to Russia’s civilian infrastructure.
"Just recently, the Russian Armed Forces delivered a couple of sensitive strikes. Let’s assume those were warning strikes. If the situation keeps moving in the same direction, the retaliation will be more serious," he assured.