Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday night that the fighting for the Donbass – a major Russian offensive from eastern Ukrainian territories – had begun. “We can already say that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbass, for which they have been preparing for weeks. A large part of the Russian army is now focused on this offensive, ”said Zelensky. No matter how many soldiers come: we will defend ourselves. We will fight”.
For weeks – since Russia withdrew from the northern regions around Kyiv – a major offensive by Russian forces has been expected from the east, where Russia has amassed and mobilized personnel and equipment. The Russian military has not made an official announcement about the start of the offensive, and it is unlikely that it will happen, but in fact, between Sunday and Monday, several places along the Eastern Front were attacked. Violent bombings have taken place against several cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but there have also been land movements: among other things, Russian forces have captured the city of Kreminna, west of the city of Luhansk, after intense bombardment.
Meanwhile, some Ukrainian forces still barricaded in the city of Mariupol continue to defend themselves despite being surrounded and lacking means. Although the city is now considered lost, the fact that large Russian forces are still involved, removes personnel and equipment from the main offensive in the Donbass, and constitutes a major problem for the Russian military.