Ukraine says Putin’s ‘buffer zone’ comment signals escalation intent

A Ukrainian official views Putin’s proposal for a “buffer zone” in Ukraine as evidence of Russia’s intent to escalate the conflict, dismissing it as a pretext to justify further aggression against Ukraine and disregard for its sovereignty.

A top Ukrainian official stated on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion of creating a “buffer zone” inside Ukrainian territory clearly shows that Russia plans to escalate its war against Ukraine.

After winning re-election on Sunday, Putin mentioned the idea of establishing a buffer zone, which the Kremlin said would be the only way to protect Russia from attacks by Ukraine.

So the Ukrainian official sees Putin’s buffer zone proposal as an indication that Russia intends to expand its military operations and aggression against Ukraine further.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to the Ukrainian president, said in a written statement that Putin’s suggestion of creating a “buffer zone” inside Ukraine is a direct manifestation that the war will only escalate.

Podolyak stated this is direct evidence that the Russian Federation is not ready to respect the absolute sovereign rights of other countries and participate in modern social and political relations.

Putin made the buffer zone comment after winning a fifth presidential term in an election that Western nations condemned as a sham and not legitimate.

The Ukrainian official views Putin’s buffer zone idea as proof that Russia intends to intensify the war against Ukraine and has no intention of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Putin did not provide specifics but said the proposed buffer zone inside Ukraine may need to be large enough to prevent foreign-made weapons from striking Russian territory.

However, Ukraine has maintained that it only uses its weapons to hit targets in Russia. Some of Ukraine’s key allies like the U.S. have provided arms with the condition they cannot be used inside Russia.

Last week, Ukraine increased its long-range drone strikes targeting oil refineries in Russia. Additionally, paramilitary groups conducted cross-border attacks from Ukraine into western Russia.

While Putin cited the need for a buffer zone to stop foreign weapons from hitting Russia, Ukraine claims it has not used foreign-supplied weapons to strike Russian soil, despite escalating its attacks on Russian targets recently.