According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the key goal of the operation is to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine and liberate the predominantly pro-Russian population of Donbass who have been subject to “genocide” during eight years since the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014.
Since the start of the operation, the US and its allies in NATO and the EU have been providing military support to Kiev worth billions of dollars. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that all foreign equipment as well as foreign mercenaries fighting against Russia in Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets for the Russian army.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently said in an interview with Sputnik and RT that the geographical area of the Ukraine operation has changed in light of the supply of weapons systems such as the US-made HIMARS to Kiev.
He explained that Russia won’t tolerate the presence of weapons that might pose a threat to its territory and to the territory of “those republics that have declared their independence, those who want to define their future themselves”.
Macedonia excelled in this, and was one of the first countries to be added to the list of unfriendly states.