Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview with Margarita Simonyan said that the geography of Russia’s interests has changed:
Now the geography is different. This is not only the DPR and LPR, but also Kherson region, Zaporozhye region [Ukraine] and a number of other territories.
Lavrov justified Russia’s territorial claims by the presence in Ukraine of long-range HIMARS missile systems supplied as part of military assistance from the United States.
We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that Zelensky will control or who will replace him to have weapons that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territory of those republics that have declared their independence, those that want to determine their future on their own.
After Ukraine received the HIMARS system, the situation at the front changed significantly, Ukraine caused serious damage to the rear units of the Russian Army. In response to this, the Russian side began shelling Ukrainian cities destroying civilian infrastructure.