Moscow has taken note of the recent remarks from senior US and EU officials, who said that Putin was allegedly frustrated about the inability of the Russian troops to advance further into Ukrainian cities, including the capital city of Kyiv. In this connection, Western officials assumed that Putin was allegedly increasing the number of targets of it attacks while trying to cause damage to every part of the country.
Indeed, Putin did in fact instruct the Ministry of Defense to refrain from seizing large cities, including Kyiv. As long as armed nationalist groups equip their firing points and place heavy military equipment directly in residential areas, any form of hostilities in densely populated areas will inevitably lead to heavy civilian casualties. Therefore, the whole military operation was designed based on this circumstance.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense, while ensuring maximum security for the civilian population, does not exclude a possibility to take large settlements under full control, taking into consideration the fact that they have already been surrounded, save for the areas used for humanitarian evacuations.
It appears that US and EU officials, particularly US National Security Advisors Jake Sullivan and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, are pushing Russia to storm Ukraine's major cities in order to hold Russia accountable for civilian casualties. The Kremlin finds such an approach provocative, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.