Russia invades Ukraine, battle for Donbas begins

Russian forces have regrouped and launched an offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine — a moment one Ukrainian lawmaker described as “the major battle” of the war.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian official says control of Kreminna in the eastern Luhansk region has been “lost” in heavy fighting as Russia continues to bombard cities across the country.

Here are the latest developments:

The battle for Donbas: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a video address on Monday that Russia had commenced the battle for Donbas in eastern Ukraine, adding that Ukrainian forces will continue to fight against a Russian incursion in the region. Recent satellite images have shown Russian military convoys moving towards Donbas in preparation for a large-scale invasion — one that is likely to shape the fate of the war.

Kreminna control lost: Control over Kreminna has been “lost” and heavy fighting continues in the city, according to Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration. It comes as Russian forces try to break Ukrainian resistance in the country’s east, and Haidai urged civilians on Tuesday to evacuate the Luhansk region.

Mariupol fate hangs in balance: Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian attacks in the southeastern port city of Mariupol. The fate of the city rests on an unknown number of defenders making their last stand at the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian troops have previously rejected a deadline to surrender.

Not a “single place” safe in Ukraine: Ihor Zhovka, chief diplomatic adviser to Zelensky, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “not a single place, a town, a city or a village” is now safe in Ukraine following Russian missile strikes in Lviv on Monday. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister said no evacuation routes for civilians had been agreed with Russian forces.

Moskva sinking latest: New images emerged early Monday on social media showing Russia’s guided-missile cruiser, the Moskva, badly damaged and on fire in the hours before the ship sank in the Black Sea on Thursday. The images show the Moskva listing to one side, with black holes from possible missile puncture marks, and a large plume of smoke billowing upwards.

No plans for Biden to visit Ukraine: White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated on Monday that there were no plans for US President Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine, following comments from Zelensky encouraging him to do so. The US President suggested last week he wanted to go, though he said US officials are still “in discussions” on whether a high-level US official will visit Ukraine.

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