According to a Ukrainian military official, street fights have erupted in Kreminna, and evacuation is difficult. That’s one of only two places along a hundreds-mile-long front where the Ukrainians claim the Russians managed to break through on Monday. Serhiy Haidai, the regional military administrator for Luhansk, claimed heavy artillery shelled the town overnight, setting seven residential buildings on fire, and that the Olympus sports complex, where the nation’s Olympic team trains, was also hit.
According to Haidai, Russians grabbed control of the city after “levelling everything to the ground,” so his men escaped to regroup and continue fighting. “It simply makes no sense to stand in one position, die for everyone, and not cause major opponent damage,” he remarked.
The Russian military opened a new and potentially climactic phase of the war in Ukraine by initiating its long-feared, full-scale ground operation to take control of the country’s industrial heartland, the Donbas, Ukrainian officials claimed, after days of regrouping and fortifying. According to Ukrainian officials, the increased assaults began on Monday along a broad front of more than 300 miles (480 kilometres).
In a televised address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Russian troops have initiated the struggle for the Donbas.” “A considerable portion of the Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive,” he said. Separatists backed by Russia have been fighting Ukrainian soldiers in the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbas for eight years and have established two autonomous republics that Russia recognises. Since its attempt to grab Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, failed, Russia has declared the Donbas to be its primary objective in the war.
“We will fight no matter how many Russian troops are sent there,” Zelenskyy said. “We’ll protect ourselves,” says the narrator. Russia blasted the western city of Lviv and other sites before the offensive began, in what appeared to be an escalated effort to whittle down the country’s defences. According to the Ukraine military’s general staff, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have intensified attacks in the Donbas’ Luhansk and Donetsk areas, as well as in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Russia has launched a huge attack into eastern Ukraine, according to Kyiv authorities, signalling the start of a new phase of its invasion after failing to conquer the capital. Moscow’s military effort has refocused in recent weeks on the eastern Donbas region, which pro-Kremlin rebels have partially controlled since 2014.
“We can now affirm that Russian troops have began the long-awaited war for the Donbas,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated late Monday on Telegram. “We will fight no matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here. We’re going to fight back.” Ukrainian officials had urged civilians in Donbas to flee west ahead of the widely anticipated advance.
“The second phase of the battle has begun,” Andriy Yermak, the presidential chief of staff in Kyiv, stated. Control over Donbas would allow Moscow to establish a southern corridor leading to the occupied Crimean peninsula. In the region’s south, Russia pressed its assault on Mariupol, the beleaguered port city where the last remaining Ukrainian forces have made a desperate stand. Despite the dire situation in Mariupol, a senior US Defense Department source declared the city “is still disputed.”