Russian forces regrouped and launched an offensive in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine – a moment that a Ukrainian lawmaker described as “the major battle” of the war.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian official said control of the Kreminna in the eastern Lugansk region had been “lost” in heavy fighting as Russia continued to bomb towns across the country.
Here are the latest developments:
The Battle of Donbass: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a video address on Monday that Russia has begun the Battle of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, adding that Ukrainian forces will continue to fight against a Russian incursion into the region. Recent satellite images showed Russian military convoys heading towards Donbass in preparation for a full-scale invasion, which is likely to shape the fate of the war.
Kreminna control lost: Control of the Kreminna has been “lost” and heavy fighting continues in the city, according to Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration. It comes as Russian forces attempt to break down Ukrainian resistance in the east of the country, and Haidai on Tuesday urged civilians to evacuate the Luhansk region.
The fate of Mariupol is in balance: Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian attacks in the southeastern port city of Mariupol. The city’s fate rests with an unknown number of defenders making their last stand at the Azovstal Ironworks, where Ukrainian troops previously rejected a deadline to surrender.
Not a safe “one-stop-shop” in Ukraine: Ihor Zhovka, Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “not a single place, city, town or village” is now safe in Ukraine after Russian missile strikes in Lviv on Monday. . On Tuesday, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said no evacuation route for civilians had been agreed with Russian forces.
Last shipwreck of Moskva: New footage emerged early Monday on social media showing Russia’s guided missile cruiser Moskva badly damaged and on fire in the hours before the ship sank in the Black Sea on Thursday. The images show the Moskva list on one side, with black holes from possible missile puncture marks and a large plume of smoke rising upwards.
No plans for Biden to visit Ukraine: White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated on Monday that US President Joe Biden has no plans to visit Ukraine, following comments from Zelensky encouraging him to do so. The US president suggested last week that he wanted to go, although he said US officials were still “in discussions” over whether a senior US official would visit Ukraine.