Kyiv, Apr 26 (EFE).- The Russian military is carrying out heavy offensives to gain full control of the pro-Russian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, the Ukrainian army said on Tuesday.
The Moscow-backed separatist regions declared their independence from Ukraine in 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea, and are now recognized by Russia as sovereign states.
“(The) Russian enemy continues to carry out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to defeat the Joint Forces, establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and maintain the land route with the occupied Crimea,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on its Facebook page.
“(The) Russian federation continues its full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine,” it added on the 62nd day of the war.
Further north, in the Russian border regions of Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod, the “enemy has strengthened the protection of the border and checkpoints, and is conducting engineering equipment for positions. Russian occupiers in border areas have intensified anti-sabotage measures,” the Ukrainian army added.
In Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, Russian troops are strengthening, partially blockading the city and firing at Ukrainian soldiers and critical infrastructure.
According to the Ukrainian army, in various places the Russian military “fires on the positions of Ukrainian troops with the use of mortars, artillery, rocket-propelled grenade launchers along the entire line of contact.”
Further south in the besieged city of Mariupol, Russian troops are “carrying out massive fire and blocking of Ukrainian units in the area of the Azovstal plant” where 1,000 civilians have sought refuge and some 500 soldiers are resisting Russian assaults.
Ukrainian troops destroyed an ammunition depot and killed more than 70 Russians in the Russian-occupied Kherson region, in the south of the country, although the exact number of victims is being confirmed, the General Staff said.
According to the Ukrainians, the Russians are also trying to carry out reconnaissance over the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea, where they have suffered losses.
Meanwhile, in its latest intelligence report on Tuesday, the British defense ministry said that “Russian forces are likely attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east of Ukraine.”
The ministry added that the city of Kreminna has reportedly fallen and heavy fighting was reported south of Izium amid Russian attempts to advance towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east.
“Ukrainian forces have been preparing defences in Zaporizhzhia in preparation for a potential Russian attack from the south,” it added. EFE