Friday, April 12

Zelensky affirms that Russia has begun “the great battle” for Donbas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced this monday the start of the Russian offensive against eastern Ukraine, a region partly in the hands of pro-Russian separatists and where fighting intensified.

“Now we can say that heRussian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which he had been preparing for a long time. A large part of the entire Russian army is now engaged in this offensive,” Zelensky said in a speech broadcast on Telegram. “No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves,” he assured.

Shortly before, the Ukrainian governor of the Lugansk region, Sergei Gaidai, has also announced the start of the Russian offensive against eastern Ukraine. “This is hell. The offensive we’ve been talking about for weeks has started,” he said on Facebook. “There is fighting in Rubizhne and Popasna, incessant fighting in other peaceful towns,” he said.

Count of civilian deaths

At least eight civilians have been killed on Monday by Russian gunfire and attacks, according to regional authorities. Thus, four people died in Kreminna, a small town in the Luhansk region that fell to the Russians on Monday, Gaidai said on Telegram. And four more in the nearby Donetsk region, according to the Ukrainian governor of that region, Pavlo Kyrylenko. “Two in Torske, one in Chandrigalove and one in Razdolne. Five other people were injured,” he said on Telegram.

Related news

The Ukrainian military announced several weeks ago a major Moscow offensive against the Donbas regionmuch of which is under the control of pro-Russian separatists from the self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is conducting a military operation in Ukraine to save Russians in Donbas from “genocide” orchestrated by Ukrainian “neo-Nazis.”

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