The second phase of the offensive Russian in eastern Ukraine “has started”, as stated on Monday by the president of the country’s government, Volodímir Zelenski.
“We can now say that the Russian troops have started the battle for Donbas,” Zelensky said in a video message broadcast by the Ukrinform news channel, adding that the soldiers Ukrainians “will fight” and that they “will not give up” any of the country’s territory.
“The Russian army has concentrated much of its total strength there to concentrate on their offensive”, he assures, to maintain later that “it does not matter how many Russian troops are deployed: we will fight”.
The Ukrainian leader’s message follows the bombings recorded throughout this Monday in Donbas and after the Lugansk regional governor, Serhiy Gaidai, proclaimed the start of the offensive in one of its cities, Kreminna, early in the morning. “The situation has changed radically”Gaidai announced then, through Telegramto report after the first battles in the streets.
New missile attacks
In parallel to the alarm in the east of the country, from Lviv, in the west, and 80 kilometers from the border with Poland, they have also been notified already in the morning. five missile attacks, which have left at least seven dead.
Especially dramatic is the situation in Mariupolthe strategic port city on the Black Sea, which has suffered daily from Russian bombing since the beginning of the invasion on February 24.
The Ukrainian authorities reported this Monday, for the second consecutive day, that it is not possible to open humanitarian corridors to proceed with the evacuation of civilians because, according to kyiv, on the part of Russia there are no security guarantees.
The deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, has urged through the official account in Telegram Russia to open one of these humanitarian corridors to make these operations possible.
According to Ukrainian sources, in a steel factory in Mariupol there are about a thousand refugee civilians. The last Ukrainian soldiers trying to resist the Russian attack on that city are also entrenched there.
Russia sends material reinforcement
In addition, the The Pentagon has warned that Russia is sending material reinforcements and soldiers to the Donbas region, in eastern Ukraine, to launch a major offensive at any moment.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference that there is a flow of artillery equipment, helicopter support and items to facilitate Russian command and control operations in Donbas.
“We believe that they have reinforced the number of their tactical groups battalion in the east and south” of Ukraine, Kirby said.
Battalion tactical groups are typical of the Russian Armed Forces and are units, with between 600 and 800 troops, with a high level of preparation to fight high-intensity combat with different types of weapons.
Increase troop presence in the area
Kirby has indicated that in recent days Russia has sent more than ten new battalion tactical groups to eastern Ukraine.
In parallel, “we have continued to see a concentration of bombardments and artillery attacks in Donbas and in the south, especially around Mariupol,” stressed the spokesman, who stressed that the Ukrainians continue to resist in that city.
Despite preparations to focus their offensive on Donbas, Kirby recalled that this part of Ukraine has been the scene of fighting for the last eight years, as well as in the last days.
In fact, the US spokesman has stated that the Ukrainians have made some progress in Donbas and have been able to “secure” several towns.
“We believe that the Russians are shaping and setting the conditions for future offensive operations,” he said.