Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has told journalists that Russia hopes to “cleanse [Ukraine] of Nazis” hours after Russian forces attacked the country after months of rising tensions.
The comment referred to a widespread Russian propaganda trope alleging that Ukraine is controlled by “Neo-Nazis” and “fascists.”
Peskov also said that Russia sought to achieve the “demilitarization” of Ukraine and that the military operations' duration would be decided by Vladimir Putin.
When asked whether Russia wanted “regime change” in Kyiv, Peskov said it was “a matter for the Ukrainian people.”
Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory in the early hours of Thursday morning after a televised address by Putin.
The invasion followed weeks of soaring tensions as Russia massed hundreds of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border.