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KYIV: The war with Russia is entering “a protracted phase”, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Tuesday, as Moscow’s troops are now trying to take full control of the east and south of the country.

“Russia is preparing for a long-term military operation,” Reznikov told European Union defence ministers and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“The war is entering a protracted phase,” he added in the speech, the text of which was published on his Facebook page.

Ukraine could win war by year-end: Kyiv intel chief

According to Reznikov, Russian troops are currently building fortifications in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions in order to “move to defence if necessary”.

The Kremlin’s main efforts are now focused on “encircling and destroying groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, creating and maintaining a land corridor from Russia to Crimea, and completing the occupation of southern Ukraine”, he added.

Reznikov called on Ukraine’s Western allies for more coordination in arms deliveries to Kyiv, “to liberate our territories as soon as possible”.

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