Russia-Ukraine war: 'Battle for Donbas' has begun, says President Zelenskyy
Russia is said to have launched a new major offensive in eastern Ukraine, which the latter described as the "second phase of the war." According to reports, powerful explosions rocked the frontline of Donetsk, with heavy shelling taking place in Marinka, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk. Russia's military campaign has shifted its focus in recent weeks to eastern Ukraine's Donbas region after failing to capture Kyiv.
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The development came as the Russia-Ukraine war entered its 55th day on Tuesday. Notably, control over the Donbas region would enable Russia to establish a southern corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The war, which began on February 24, has displaced about a quarter of Ukraine's 44 million population, destroyed multiple cities, and killed or injured thousands.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on 'battle for Donbas'
"We can now confirm...Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas [region], which they have been preparing for a long time," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on Monday. "No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves," he added. "The second phase of the war has started," remarked Andriy Yermak, Ukraine's presidential chief of staff.
Russia trying to conquering Mariupol, Ukraine asks residents to flee
Meanwhile, Russia pressed its assault on the strategically important port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, where only the last of the Ukrainian forces were holding out. Despite the dire situation in Mariupol, a senior US Defense Department official said the city "is still contested." Ukrainian authorities had earlier urged Donbas residents to flee westward ahead of Russia's much anticipated eastern advance.
There are no safe locations in Ukraine any more
A Russian missile strike in western Ukraine's Lviv—which was considered to be relatively safe—killed seven people on Monday. "There are no safe and unsafe locations" in the country right now, Lviv Mayor Andriy Ivanovych Sadovyi reportedly said. Meanwhile, Russia's Defence Ministry on Tuesday claimed they targeted 16 military facilities in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk regions, as well as the port of Mykolayiv, overnight.
Ukraine receives military aid from the United States
Meanwhile, the first consignments of the US's fresh military assistance package arrived at Ukraine's borders on Monday to support the country's war against the Russian invasion. Last week, the US announced an additional $800M in military aid and heavy weapons—including helicopters, howitzers, and armored personnel carriers—for Ukraine. Moreover, US President Joe Biden will soon attend a call with allies to discuss the war.Share this timeline