Ukraine Says ‘Battle for Donbass’ BEGINS as Powerful Blasts Sounded Along Eastern Front – World News

Footage apparently of heavy Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine was shared online, while Ukrainian officials said there were powerful explosions as the “battle for Donbass” began

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Ukraine: Zelenskyy marks start of Russian offensive in Donbass

The “Battle for Donbass” has begun as Russian forces launch an all-out attack on eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s war machine has begun its bombardment of the East with chilling footage posted to social media showing the night sky lit up amid the relentless new shelling of cities.

Kremlin troops launched their long-awaited offensive through eastern Ukraine in the second phase of the conflict beginning Monday night.

Footage on social media appears to show repeated heavy shelling focused on the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, while Ukrainian media reported some powerful explosions the cities of Marinka, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.

Ukrainian officials and media also said explosions were heard in Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, Mykolaiv in the south and Zaporizhia in the southeast.

Air raid sirens also went off in major centers near the front lines.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia had started the “Battle for Donbass” and a “very large part of the entire Russian army is now concentrating on this offensive”.

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The night sky was lit by shells and rockets

“No matter how many Russian troops they send there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves,” he said in a video address.

Zelenskyy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak assured the Ukrainians that their forces could repel the offensive in “the second phase of the war”.

“Believe in our army, it’s very strong,” he said.

Ukraine’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov said Russian forces tried to breach Ukraine’s defenses “along almost the entire front line of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.”

The footage showed laps sweeping across the pitch-black sky

Pushed back by Ukrainian forces in the north, Russia has refocused its ground offensive in the two eastern provinces known as Donbass, while launching long-range attacks on other targets, including the capital Kyiv.

Donbass has been the focus of Russia’s campaign to destabilize Ukraine, which began in 2014 when the Kremlin installed proxies to set up two separatist “people’s republics” in the former Soviet state. It is also home to much of Ukraine’s industrial wealth, including coal and steel.

This image, shared on social media, reportedly showed a Russian offensive on the main Ukrainian force in Donbass

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it hit hundreds of military targets in Ukraine overnight.

At the same time, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod province said on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops had attacked a village near the Russia-Ukraine border, injuring a resident.

It was not immediately clear whether the attack on the village of Golovchino, depicted in Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov’s posts on the messaging app Telegram, was carried out with artillery, mortars, rockets or an airstrike.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukrainians will continue fighting

This month Russia accused Ukraine, which it invaded in late February, of a helicopter attack on a fuel depot in Belgorod, shelling villages there multiple times and firing rockets at an ammunition depot.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “military special operation”.

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