Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announce On Monday, the long-awaited Russian offensive began in the Donbass region, ushering in a crucial second phase of the war centered around the battle for territory in eastern Ukraine.
Last: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also He said in an interview with India Today The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had begun a new phase in its invasion of Ukraine, predicting it would be a “very important moment”.
- Another stage of this process [in eastern Ukraine] I started and I’m sure this will be a very important moment for this whole special operation.”
why does it matter: Russian forces withdrew from Kyiv earlier this month to refocus their efforts in Donbass. US officials and analysts expect Russia to try to outflank and encircle Ukrainian forces after it failed in its initial efforts to seize the capital.
what are they saying: “Now we can already announce that the Russian troops have begun the Battle of Donbass, for which they have been preparing for a long time,” said Zelensky in an exclusive statement. video Posted on Telegram.
- Zelensky pledged that “a very large part of the Russian army is now concentrated in this offensive. No matter how many soldiers are thrown there, we will fight and defend ourselves. We will do it every day.”
- The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in Declaration On Tuesday morning, Russian forces “made an attempt to break through our defenses along almost the entire front line” in their quest to capture the Donbass region while also pressing on Mariupol.
The Big Picture: Ukraine has been battling Russian-backed separatists in the industrial areas of Donbass for the past eight years, making it home to some of Kyiv’s elite fighters.
- The flat and largely open terrain is expected to be in Russia’s interest, however, removing some of the challenges created by urban warfare and exploited by Ukrainian forces in the initial phase of the war.
- Russia has concentrated tanks and heavy artillery in the east in preparation for a grinding battle for territory, which Ukraine’s foreign minister warned would produce scenes reminiscent of World War II.
- In recognition of the upcoming battle for Donbass, President Biden Authorize an additional $800 million Additional military assistance to Ukraine last week included supplies of heavy weapons that were not included in previous packages.
News leadership: Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, reported that heavy shelling was reported on Monday along the entire nearly 300-mile front line, including the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- Russia claimed to have struck hundreds of military supply targets around Ukraine in anticipation of the attack, including in the western city of Lviv, where at least. killed seven people In missile strikes early Monday.
- at Mariupol besiegedthe third largest city in Donbass, was the last remaining Ukrainian troops still holding out in a fortress-like steel mill under heavy bombardment from Russia.
- A senior US defense official told reporters Monday that capturing Mariupol in its entirety would allow Russia to free up 12 battalion tactical groups – each generally made up of 700 to 900 soldiers – for deployment elsewhere.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a comment from the Ukrainian General Staff.
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