MOSCOW: Moscow views eliminating nationalist battalions in Ukraine as a top priority task, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
"The main task is to liberate [Ukraine] from these nationalist battalions after all. The operation continues and the tasks that have been set are well known. They must and will be accomplished. There must be no doubts about that," the Russian presidential spokesman said.
As Peskov pointed out, "peaceful life is returning where nationalist battalions do not take civilians hostage and where these nationalist battalions do not open fire on social facilities and houses."
"However, in those places where nationalist battalions are engaged in what I spoke about, there is fierce struggle and all of them must be eliminated there," the Kremlin press secretary said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (the DPR and the LPR) launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.