Ukraine says “Battle of Donbass” has begun; Russia advances in the east

Russian forces launched a new offensive across most of Ukraine’s eastern flank on Monday and the “Battle of Donbass” has begun, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and senior officials said.

According to Reuters, Ukraine’s army has been preparing for a new Russian attack on its eastern flank since Moscow withdrew its forces from near Kiev and northern Ukraine late last month to focus on an attack in the Ukrainian region. from Donbass.

“Now we can say that Russian forces have started the Battle of Donbass, which they have been preparing for a long time,” Zelenskiy said in a video speech.

Security Council Secretary of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said in televised remarks: “They (Russian forces) started their attempt to start the active phase this morning.”

“This morning, along almost the entire front line of the (eastern) regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, the occupiers tried to breach our defenses,” he declared.

Russia has been building up its forces in eastern Ukraine using troops it has pulled from northern Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, a close ally of Russia.

In a statement on the social network, the Ukrainian Armed Forces command said that Russia’s main military force was focusing on taking control of the entire area of ​​the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which make up the strip of land known as the Donbass.

“The second phase of the war has begun. Trust our army, it is very strong,” Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, wrote on the social network messaging app.

Russian reinforcements set the stage for a protracted battle that, according to military analysts, is sure to inflict heavy losses on both sides.

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