Kiev says that the second phase of the war has begun.
President Volodymyr Zelensky and his advisers claimed on Monday that the second phase of the Russian offensive has started in Ukraine and the Donbass. Kiev said there were reports of heavy fighting on the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov fronts, and Ukrainian troops were holding the line.
In a video posted on Monday evening, Zelensky stated that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbass, which they have been preparing for a long time.
He added that a large part of the Russian army is dedicated to this offensive.
His chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, said earlier in the day that the second phase of the war had begun in the east, but urged Ukrainians to believe in our army, it is very strong. Russian forces are attacking almost the entire front line, said Alexey Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council. Our military is holding on. The Russian Defense Ministry did not make any comment on any ground operations on Monday. There were reports from frontline correspondents about heavy fighting south of Izyum, north of Severodonetsk, and west of Donetsk city. There were reports of artillery and missile strikes in Kharkov, Nikolaev, and the north-western Donetsk regions.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself as a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it plans to retake the two republics by force.