Ambassador: Russia troops may stay in south Ukraine

STORY: Since the Feb. 24 invasion, Russian forces have taken control of a big chunk of territory across Ukraine's southern flank above Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Russia is slowly pushing Ukrainian forces out of two Russian-backed rebel regions of east Ukraine which it has recognised as independent states.

When asked how the conflict might end, Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin said it was difficult to see Russian and Russian-backed forces withdrawing from the south of Ukraine, and that Ukraine's soldiers would be pushed back from all of Donbas.

"We are going to liberate all of the Donbas," Kelin told Reuters in an interview in his London residence where Winston Churchill used to discuss World War Two strategy with Josef Stalin's ambassador.

"Of course it is difficult to predict the withdrawal of our forces from the southern part of Ukraine because we have already experience that after withdrawal, provocations start and all the people are being shot and all that."

Russia says Ukraine has repeatedly killed civilians in attacks on territory held by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donbas since 2014. Fighting over the frontline in that region caused thousands of casualties on both sides long before Russia's invasion this year.