As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and Moscow, here are the main developments of the day:
Ukrainian and Russian leaders said a new phase of Russian operations in Ukraine has begun. Ukrainian officials dubbed it the Battle of Donbass, referring to the eastern area that Moscow had previously pressed kyiv to cede to Russian-aligned separatists. The Kremlin has recognized two breakaway republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that make up Donbass.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a “substantial part” of the Russian military was now involved in the military operation. The Luhansk regional governor said Russian forces had captured the town of Kreminna. Rockets and artillery shells fell on several Ukrainian towns, with Ukrainian media reporting explosions and sirens of air raids hundreds of miles away. Ukrainian troops were soon to receive more heavy weapons from the United States and NATO in the form of artillery, helicopters, drones and armored vehicles.
The Pentagon said Russia’s “limited offensive operations” so far in the east are a “prelude” to larger operations. The Russian military has continued to add tactical battalion groups, which the United States sees as an attempt by Russia to avoid repeating its mistakes since the start of the invasion, including the lack of food, fuel and other supplies. A senior US defense official said Russia was now focusing on a more limited region and had spent a lot of time building up substantial supplies.
The next phase of the peace talks remains uncertain. Ukraine’s chief negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said it was difficult to predict when the talks might resume due to the continued siege of Mariupol and the new offensive. Russia has accused Ukraine of undermining the talks with shifting demands.
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