Russian forces have begun their anticipated new offensive in the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on April 18.
“We can now say that Russian forces have started the battle of the Donbas, for which they have long prepared,” Zelensky said in a video address.
“A significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive,” Zelensky further said.
“No matter how many Russian servicemen they’re bringing into that area, we will keep on fighting and defending and we will be doing this daily. We will not give up anything that is Ukrainian but we don’t need anything that is not ours,” Zelensky added.
Zelensky’s announcement came after several senior Ukrainian officials said that Russia has begun a new offensive push along most of Ukraine’s eastern flank, triggering a new stage of the war.
Ukrainian Presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak described the new Russian offensive on Telegram as “the second phase of the war.”
“Believe in our army. It is very strong,” Yermak assured Ukrainians.
Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said Russia had attempted to break through defenses “along almost the entire front line of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv” regions.
“They began their attempt to start the active phase this morning,” Danilov said in televised comments.
“Fortunately, our military is holding on,” Danilov added.
According to local authorities, Russian strikes killed at least eight civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russian forces have been repositioning and reinforcing for several weeks after they failed in their attempt to swiftly capture Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
© Fourth Estate
® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.