Ukraine war: ‘New phase of war’ as Russia’s offensive in east begins, Ukrainian officials say

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Ukraine war: 'New phase of war' as Russia's offensive in east begins, Ukrainian officials say

Damaged and burned vehicles are seen at a destroyed part of a plant in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariu   —  

Russian forces have begun a new offensive in the east of Ukraine after their retreat from the capital region and other parts of the country.

The Ukrainian military’s General Staff noted that «a new phase of war» began when troops attempted to break through defences in the eastern regions.

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine.

09:25

Latest updates:

    The Russian offensive on eastern Ukraine has begun on Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in a video address.The Ukrainian military’s General Staff noted that a “new phase of war” began when “the occupiers made an attempt to break through our defences along nearly the entire frontline in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.”

    Multiple missiles struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Monday, killing seven and wounding 11, according to the city’s governor.

    Russia has Mariupol surrounded and has been fighting a bloody battle to seize it.Mariupol has been effectively wiped off the map, says Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

16:04

Multiple deaths from shelling in eastern Ukraine 

At least five people have been killed and three wounded, following a Russian attack on a residential area in Kharkiv, say AP journalists. 

Tuesday’s attack took place as residents attempted to carry on with business as usual in the city, with spring flowers being planted in public areas by state employees. 

Five other civilians in the northeastern city have been killed and 17 wounded in the past 24 hours, according to the regional governor in Kharkiv. 

Kharkiv is near the front lines and has suffered repeated shelling from Russia since the war began. 

(AP)

15:56

The most powerful pictures taken during the Russia-Ukraine war

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Ukraine war: 'New phase of war' as Russia's offensive in east begins, Ukrainian officials say

15:49

War of attrition next, predicts UK official 

The war in Ukraine is likely to move into a phase of «attritional conflict» that could last many months, British officials have said. 

A senior UK national security official briefed the country’s government Tuesday, as Russia ramped up its offensive in the east of Ukraine. 

The official claimed Russia has not learned from previous setbacks in northern Ukraine, saying some units were refusing to fight and that soldiers were committed to fight in a «piecemeal fashion.» 

Russia’s larger number of troops was also «unlikely to be decisive on its own» against fierce Ukrainian resistance, the official said. 

Max Blain, spokesman for the UK Prime Minister, said Boris Johnson had told the cabinet Putin’s position in Ukraine was «perilous.» 

The Russian leader is «angered by defeats but determined to claim some sort of victory regardless of the human cost,» he added. 

15:34

14:03

Boris Johnson to discuss toughening Russian sanctions with other world leaders

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will speak to US President Joe Biden and other world leaders later today to discuss toughening sanctions against Russia as well as further support for Ukraine, Johnson’s spokesman said, according to Reuters.

Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Japan, NATO and the European Commission are also set to join the call.

13:52

First Ukrainian city falls in new offensive in the east

Russian forces have seized the city of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine, with Ukrainian troops withdrawing from the city, the regional governor said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Kreminna, which has a population of 18,000 and is about 574 km southeast of the capital Kyiv, appears to be the first city captured in the new Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.

«Kreminna is under the control of the ‘Orcs’ (Russians). They have entered the city,» Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, told a briefing, Reuters reports.

«Our defenders had to withdraw. They have entrenched themselves in new positions and continue to fight the Russian army,» he added.

13:35

Almost five million Ukrainians have fled since fighting began

Nearly five million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia’s invasion, the United Nations said Tuesday, sounding the alarm at the rapid exodus and voicing concern that the situation may worsen.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,980,589 Ukrainians had left since Russia invaded on February 24.

In addition, nearly 215,000 third-country nationals — largely students and migrant workers — have also escaped to neighbouring countries, meaning around 5.2 million people in all have fled Ukraine since the war began.

Officials call it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

«The key is that the borders remain open, people can access safety and when they get to the neighbouring countries they have access to assistance,» UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo told reporters in Geneva.

Women and children account for 90 percent of those who have fled, with Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up and unable to leave.

Beyond the refugees, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates 7.1 million people are displaced within Ukraine.

Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been forced from their homes, including those still inside the country.

Before the invasion, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in the east.

(AFP)

13:13

Kremlin refuses to comment on Moskva losses

The Kremlin has declined to comment on how many of the Moskva’s crew were lost, after the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet sank last week.

In recent days, numerous testimonies have circulated on Russian media and social networks about missing sailors, since the warship was sunk by a suspected Ukranian missile on Thursday. 

«All the information is provided by the Ministry of Defense,» said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian presidency, on Tuesday. «We do not have the prerogative to communicate.»

Dmitry Chkrebrets, who said he was a father of a missing person, posted a message on the Russian social network Vkontakte, asking why his son, a conscript, was in a combat zone. 

Another Russian woman, Yulia Tsyvova, also reported to the media that her son was missing.

Russia maintains that the crew of the Moskva were evacuated to safety before the ship sunk, and has not reported any deaths or injuries. 

The country’s defence ministry released a video on Saturday that purported to show dozens of the surviving crew members on parade in front of the head of the navy. But if this is the ship’s actual crew cannot be verified.

The sinking of the Moskva, which played a key role in the coordination of the Russian ships in the Black Sea, was seen as a major blow to the prestige of Russian forces and boosted Ukrainian morale. 

Read more about how the loss of the Moskva will affect the Ukraine war: Will the sinking of the Moskva impact the Ukraine war?


Ukraine war: 'New phase of war' as Russia's offensive in east begins, Ukrainian officials say

12:47

Russian FM: New stage of Ukraine campaign ‘starting now’

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine is entering a new stage, as the country ramps up its offensive in the east. 

He made the remarks in an interview on Indian television Tuesday, saying «another phase» of Russia’s Ukraine campaign was «starting now.» 

This comes as Ukrainian authorities said on Monday that Russia had launched a major offensive in the country’s eastern industrial heartland. 

Lavrov said Russia was aiming for the «full liberation of the Donestk and Luhansk republics,” where Moscow-backed separatists have been battling Ukrainian forces since 2014. 

Both regions, which have large numbers of Russian speakers, have decalared independence from Ukraine, although they are not officially recognised by Ukraine and the west. 

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