Zelensky says Russia has started Donbas offensive

Announcement of intensified attacks comes nearly two months after Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine

Updated: April 18, 2022 - 6:50pm

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Russia has launched an invasion of the Donbas region in the eastern region of his, starting the Kremlin's second phase of the war.

"Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time," Zelensky said in a Telegram video translated by Axios.

The expected start of the intensified attacks comes nearly two months after Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine. Last week, the war heated up after air raid sirens went off across all regions of Ukraine the same day that Ukraine claimed it sank a major Russian warship.

"A very significant part of the Russian army is now concentrated for that offensive," Zelensky also said Monday. "No matter how many servicemen get thrown there, we will fight, we will defend ourselves. We will do that every day."

Russia claimed last month it would be "regrouping" troops to Donbas and other key fronts in Ukraine.

Russia hit Ukraine with heavy shelling on Monday, including in Lviv in western Ukraine where at least seven people were killed by Russian strikes. 

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