For the U.S to delegitimize ISIS claim as a country, it MUST deny ISIS governing people in the first place, and what better place to do governance than in cities ? Taking away the city under ISIS control equals taking away their legitimacy in governance and as we know to wrest control of cities under ISIS control requires the U.S to destroy entire cities, because they won't surrender.
So does for Putin, to delegitimize Zelensky and Ukraine as a country their objective is to deny a Ukrainian governance itself, which explains why they go for Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol (all major Ukraine center of government) in the first place. And in the process to achieve that goal, just like the U.S they destroy entire cities because its the enemy wont yield.
When you equate ISIS controlled territory with a legitimate democratically elected government, you are engaging in extreme mental gymnastics to try to defend your point.
What’s next? Legitimizing drug cartels when they control a town by force as “legitimate governors” and calling the police force trying to restore order as “invading army”?
I guess you can’t distinguish between a group of thugs killing people to loot their belongings and a special forces operation that kills some terrorists to free some hostages. For you, it’s just “armed people killing others because they have more firepower”.