News analysis

Scope of Russian military operation in Ukraine remains a matter of debate

A satellite image taken on Feb 15 shows a new battle group deployment along Millerovo airfield in Russia, approximately 16km from the Ukrainian border. PHOTO: AFP
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LONDON - Fighting has escalated around Ukraine's Russian-backed rebel regions, a development confirming the worst fears of Western governments: that an all-out Russian military strike against Ukraine is now almost inevitable, with Russia claiming as a justification the need to protect the rebels.

Yet the ultimate scope of such a Russian military operation remains a matter of debate, with the US administration believing that Russia would seek to occupy most of Ukraine, while some European governments still hope that Moscow's objectives may be more limited.

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