A newly-promoted Russian general has said the full-scale invasion of Ukraine is just a “stepping stone” to a wider conflict with Europe.

 

Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev was promoted to the rank of Colonel-General by President Putin. Mordvichev was already head of the Central Military District and the Russian Central Group of Forces in Ukraine.

 

In an interview on Moscow's state-run Russia-1 channel, which was filmed in July but released to coincide with his promotion, Mordvichev expressed his belief that Putin's military actions will continue for a long time and may even expand further in the future.

“The war will persist for an extended period. Discussing specific dates doesn't make sense... When it comes to Eastern Europe and what needs to be done, it will certainly require more time,” he stated.

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The interviewer then asks: “Ukraine is only a stepping stone?”

 

“Yes, you're correct. This is only the beginning. I believe that the proponents of this war won't stop there,” he replies.

 

Mordvichev also said the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) only have enough momentum “for an offensive until the end of August.”

 

“They [the AFU] will continue [an offensive] until the end of August, followed by a brief hiatus. They won't achieve much during the winter.

 

“By spring, I anticipate it will all [offensive - ed.] come to a close,” he said, emphasizing that “without a doubt, Russian forces will need to respond to this offensive.”

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During the previous spring, Mordvichev led the assault on Mariupol, a city that Ukrainian President Zelensky stated in April had seen 95 per cent of its buildings destroyed.

 

In Ukraine, Mordvichev faces accusations of issuing the order to storm the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. According to Ukraine's Security Service, Mordvichev, in collaboration with the leaders of the so-called “DNR” and Chechen forces, devised the plan for the overall capture of the besieged Mariupol and the assault on the Azovstal metallurgical plant, where Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and civilians were trapped in partially destroyed bomb shelters.

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In February of this year, the 47-year-old Mordvichev assumed the role of commander of the Central Military District, succeeding General Alexander Lapin, who faced substantial criticism after the Russian army withdrew from the Estuary in the Donetsk region.

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