Russia began an aggressive mobilization in Ukraine early in the war on February 24, and Ukraine launched a strong counteroffensive that has mostly succeeded in pushing Russian forces out of Ukrainian territories such as Kiev, Kharkiv and Izium.
However, despite the recent losses, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Russia has no plans “to take more territory from Ukraine.”
Russia will instead focus its efforts on liberating the four territories it annexed from Ukraine in September – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Foreign governments, including the United States, said the move is illegal.
In November, Russia withdrew its forces from Kherson, the only regional capital the Kremlin had held since the start of the war.
Despite the withdrawal of its forces from Kherson, Russia continues to say that the territory is under the control of the Russian Federation.
His statement comes as Ukrainian forces continue to fight to retake their territories.
“But still there is a lot of work ahead to liberate the territories; in a number of new regions of the Russian Federation there are occupied territories that must be liberated,” Peskov was quoted as saying.
Peskov estimated that the area in particular need of “liberation” was Donetsk, which he said was “reoccupied” by Ukrainian troops after it was annexed.
However, despite Russia’s annexation of territories, the Kremlin does not maintain military control over the areas, as demonstrated by Ukrainian forces retaking Kherson and continuing to fight in Zaporizhzhia.
Ukraine said some Russian forces were withdrawing from Zaporizhzhia this month.
Zaporizhzhia has been a conflict territory since the beginning of the war, with bombings in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant.
Instead of focusing its energy on securing Ukrainian territory, Peskov said the Kremlin will continue with its “demilitarization and denazification” goals, which it has maintained since the invasion began.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has often referred to the Ukrainian government and its armed forces as neo-Nazis.