Russia-Ukraine War Latest News LIVE: Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has begun, says President Zelenskyy - The Economic Times

"We will defend ourselves, we will do it everyday": Russia launched its long-feared, full-scale offensive to take control of Ukraine's east, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Monday.“Now we can already state that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas," he said in a video address. Zelenskyy said a "significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive.”The Donbas is Ukraine's mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for the past eight years and have declared two independent republics that have been recognised by Russia. In recent weeks, the Kremlin declared the capture of the Donbas its main goal of the war after its attempt to storm Kyiv failed. After withdrawing from the capital, it began regrouping and reinforcing its ground troops in the east for what could be a climactic battle.“No matter how many Russian troops are driven there, we will fight,” Zelenskyy vowed. "We will defend ourselves. We will do it every day.”The Ukraine military's general staff said Russian forces Monday were increasing assaults in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions — both of which are part of the Donbas — as well as in the area of Zaporizhzhia. It also said Russia was sending reinforcements to the Crimean Peninsula — seized from Ukraine in 2014 — and to the Rostov-on-Don area, which borders Ukraine. Witnesses in key cities Kharkiv and Bakhmut near the front line saw no immediate sign of increased military activity there. Associated Press journalists reported hearing distant artillery fire in some areas, but that has happened sporadically for weeks.The announcement from Zelenskyy came as Russia bombarded the western city of Lviv and a multitude of other targets across Ukraine in what appeared to be an intensified bid to grind down the country's defenses. At least seven people were reported killed in the missile strikes on Lviv, a city close to the Polish border that has seen only sporadic attacks during almost two months of war and has become a haven for civilians fleeing the fighting elsewhere. To the Kremlin's increasing anger, Lviv has also become a major gateway for NATO-supplied weapons.

via Economictimes

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