By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Russia’s leader said he has no plans “for now” to launch massive air raids such as those carried out last week, in which more than 100 long-range missiles were fired at targets across Ukraine.
“We do not set ourselves the task of destroying Ukraine. No, of course not,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the end of a summit in Kazakhstan.
He added the call-up of reservists would be finished in two weeks, promising an end to the divisive mobilisation that has seen hundreds of thousands of men summoned to fight in Ukraine and huge numbers fleeing the country.
Defending the mobilisation order, Putin told a news conference that the front line was too long to defend solely with contract soldiers. He ordered the call-up to bolster the fight along a 1,100-km (684-mile) front line where Ukrainian counteroffensives have inflicted blows to Moscow’s military prestige.
Putin said 222,000 out of an expected 300,000 reservists had already been mobilised. “This work is coming to an end,” he said.
After attending the summit of regional leaders from Asia and Eastern Europe, Putin said he did not regret sending troops into Ukraine nearly eight months ago.
“What is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly,” he said. “But we would have had all this a little later, only under worse conditions for us, that’s all. So my actions are correct and timely.”