Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to Russia’s military attack on Ukraine as a “special operation” Thursday, but dodged most questions on its nature or objectives in a call with foreign journalists.
"I cannot give you information on the military, technological and other components of this operation,” Peskov said. “The only primary source here should be our military and defense departments.”
The spokesman added that occupation was not the objective, echoing President Vladimir Putin's claims in a televised address earlier on Thursday.
“No one is talking about occupation, in this scenario that word is not applicable,” Peskov said. “This is a special operation. I do not think it's necessary for me to explain anything here, because the president himself gave exhaustive explanations.”
In his speech, Putin said he had decided "to conduct a special military operation ... to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years," repeating a baseless claim about Ukraine's Russian-separatist-backed Donbas region.
The invasion began soon afterwards with a series of missile attacks against locations near Kyiv, as well as the use of long-range artillery against the northeastern city of Kharkiv, near the Russian border.