Kremlin spokesman says Ukraine operation could end ‘in foreseeable future’

Russia’s so-called special operation in Ukraine could end in the “foreseeable future,” as its goals are being reached, a Kremlin spokesperson said Friday.

“The operation continues; the goals are being achieved. Substantive work is being carried out both through the military in terms of advancing the operation, and through the [peace] negotiators who are in the negotiation process with Ukrainian counterparts,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to multiple outlets. 

Asked about the timeline for such a completion, Peskov said, “We are talking about the foreseeable future.” 

The comments are sure to be taken with a grain of salt by Western and Ukrainian leaders, who in the past week have frequently warned that Moscow is gearing up for an assault on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.  

Russia indicated its shift to the Donbas earlier this month after failing to quickly take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv when it began its attack on the former Soviet country on Feb. 24.  

The U.S. officials has since seen Moscow pull back its troops from around Kyiv and Chernihiv in the north, but said the move is believed to be a repositioning and not a real withdrawal. 

Peskov separately acknowledged this week that Russia had sustained “significant losses of troops” in the fight, a rare acknowledgement from Moscow of the difficulties Russia has confronted in its invasion. 

It is unclear how many Russian troops have died in the fighting, though the Pentagon has put out a conservative estimate of 7,000.

Ukrainian officials have suggested the number is more than double that total.

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