Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged for the first time that Moscow’s current territorial objective is to seize four partially occupied Ukrainian oblasts fully, the Institute for the Study of War reports. When responding to a journalist‘s question regarding the Kremlin’s original objectives for war on Dec. 8, Peskov said that one of their main goals in Ukraine was to “protect residents of southeastern Ukraine and Donbas.”
According to Peskov, there are no talks about annexing new territories as there is “still a lot of work to be done” to fully occupy Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts. "Peskov, however, reiterated that the Kremlin is still pursuing its “demilitarization” and “denazification” objectives in Ukraine, which confirms that Russia is still pursuing regime change (“denazification”) and the elimination of Ukraine’s ability to resist future Russian attacks or pressure," the ISW found.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s invocation of Russian imperial history on Dec. 7 and his recent remarks regarding Russia’s role as the only “guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty” are further indicators that the Kremlin is setting conditions for a protracted war aimed at eradicating Ukrainian sovereignty.