Ukraine-Russia war news: Zelensky confirms MAJOR new offensive as Russian forces have launched 'battle for the Donbas'

UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia's large-scale offensive in the eastern Donbas region is underway.

Zelensky's chief of staff said the assault on the Donbas marked the start of the "second phase" of the war.

Explosions were heard along the entire front as Vladimir Putin launched a major new offensive to seize control of the east.

The secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council had earlier said Moscow tried to break through defences in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.

Zelensky's comments follow warnings from other senior officials that Russia has begun its assault on the eastern region on Monday.

In a video address he said: "We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time.

"A large part of the Russian army is now dedicated to this offensive."

The brave Ukrainian leader refused to be cowed by the latest Russian attack, saying: "No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves."

The news comes as chilling first pictures show Putin's doomed flagship Moskva on fire and sinking into the Black Sea after being shot by Ukraine.

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Ukraine strikes village near border

    Ukrainian forces have struck a village near Russia's border with Ukraine, the governor of the Russian province of Belgorod is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

    It was not clear what the nature of the strike was.

  • Louis Allwood

    Boris Johnson to hand Stormer armoured missile launchers to Ukraine

    Boris Johnson will hand Stormer armoured missile launchers to Ukraine to unleash hell on Mad Vlad Putin’s army.

    Their 17 Starstreak missiles can blitz low-flying jets and helicopters.

    Experts hailed them “the best kit” yet sent by any Western power.

    Sources say the MoD showed off the Stormers’ punch to Ukrainians at a display on Salisbury Plain two weeks ago.

    The 13-ton, high-tech launchers can be loaded on to C-17 transport planes and flown to the war in days.

    They only need a crew of three — a driver, commander and gunner.

    And they will allow President Volodymyr Zelensky’s army to speed into positions at 50mph, fire, then get away fast.

    The deployment of “a handful of Stormers” alongside 120 personnel carriers already pledged marks a significant increase in heavy weaponry from Britain.

    So far Western powers have only provided ­shoulder-mounted weapons.

  • Milica Cosic

    First pictures reveal Putin's warship Moskva sinking

    CHILLING first pictures show Putin's doomed flagship Moskva on fire and sinking into the Black Sea after being shot by Ukraine.

    It comes as video footage has surfaced appearing to show the stricken Moskva with smoke pouring from it and a rescue tug boat nearby.

    They show damage to the stricken Russian warship's left side along with flames burning below deck and a thick pall of black smoke rising into the sky. 

    Moskva is then shown sitting low in the water, leaning to the port side, and appears to have deployed its lifeboats with no crew visible on board.

    Its rear helicopter door is also open, suggesting the aircraft has taken off.

    A voice in the video can be heard saying in Russian: “Mother******! What the f*** are you doing?!” before the short clip ends.

  • Louis Allwood

    Russia has begun major new offensive 

    Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that the long-feared "battle for the Donbas" is finally underway.

    Explosions were heard along the entire front as Vladimir Putin launched a major new offensive to seize control of the east.

  • Milica Cosic

    EU slams 'indiscriminate' Russia bombing of Ukraine civilians

    The European Union has today condemned Russian for the "indiscriminate" bombing of civilians in its invasion of Ukraine, after deadly strikes hit the western city of Lviv.

    "The EU condemns the continued indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by Russian armed forces," said a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

  • Milica Cosic

    New set of US arms for Ukraine starting to arrive

    The first shipments of a new US military aid package have arrived at Ukraine’s borders to be handed over in its fight against the Russian invasion, a senior Pentagon official said today.

    The United States on April 13 unveiled a $800-million tranche of equipment for Ukraine, including helicopters, howitzers and armored personnel carriers.

    “There have been four flights from the United States arriving into the theater just yesterday,” a senior Pentagon official said, with a fifth flight due shortly.

    The package includes 18 155mm howitzers for the first time, as well as 40,000 artillery rounds, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 100 armored multi-purpose vehicles.

    “There has been an effect on Putin’s ability to restock and resupply, particularly in the realm of components to some of his systems and his precision-guided munitions,” the US official added.

  • Milica Cosic

    Macron says talks with Putin stalled

    Emmanuel Macron has said that his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have stalled since mass killings were discovered in Ukraine.

    “Since the massacres we have discovered in Bucha and in other towns, the war has taken a different turn, so I did not speak to him again directly since, but I don’t rule out doing so in the future”, the French president told France 5 television.

    “I will go back to Kyiv, but I will go there to bring something useful with me… because it’s obvious that I don’t need to travel there to show this support,” Macron added.

    “If I go to Kyiv, it will be to make a difference.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Police say 269 bodies recovered in Irpin

    Ukrainian investigators have examined 269 dead bodies in Irpin, near Kyiv, since the town was taken back from Russian forces in late March, a police official said today, as workers dug fresh graves on its outskirts.

    The town, which had a pre-war population of about 62,000, was one of the main hotspots of fighting with Russian troops before they pulled back from Ukraine's northern regions to intensify their offensive in the east.

    "As of now, we have inspected 269 dead bodies," said Serhiy Panteleyev, first deputy head of the police's main investigation department, at an online briefing.

    He said forensic work was ongoing to determine the cause of death for many of the victims.

    He said seven sites in Irpin where civilians were allegedly shot have been inspected, without giving further details.

  • Milica Cosic

    Town 'lost' to Russian forces

    The town of Kreminna, in the eastern Luhansk region, has allegedly been "lost" to Russian forces.

    Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, wrote on Telegram: "At the moment, control over the city of Kreminna is lost."

    Earlier it was reported that Russian forces earlier entered the town and street fighting began.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ukrainians queue for hours to buy ‘Russian warship go f*** yourself’ stamps

    It has been reported that people have waited in six-hour queues in Kyiv over the weekend to buy commemorative “Russian warship go f*** yourself” stamps.

    It comes after a Ukrainian soldier guarding Snake Island used it the quote to tell Russia’s Moskva warship that he and his colleagues would not surrender.

    Weeks later, the Moskva sank after what Ukraine said was a successful anti-ship missile attack.

  • Milica Cosic

    Moment Putin’s nuclear bomber flies close to Ukraine border

    THIS is the chilling moment one of Vladimir Putin's nuclear bombers was caught flying close to the Ukrainian border in a major military escalation.

    The TU-160 strategic bomber was seen in the skies over Western Russia amid huge pressure on the Kremlin over the sinking of the Moskva flagship in the Black Sea. 

    Videos yesterday caught four aircraft – one used to carry nuclear bombs – over Kaluga region, between Moscow and the Ukrainian border. 

    The Defence Ministry in Moscow had not immediately announced the purpose of the mission. 

    Larger Tu-95s have been used a number of times to strike targets in Ukraine with non-nuclear weapons, notably Kh-55 and Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles.

  • Milica Cosic

    Russia broadcasts video of captured 'Britons' demanding UK PM negotiate their release

    Russian state TV broadcast a video today of what it described as "Britons" captured fighting for Ukraine demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiate their release.

    The two haggard-looking men identified as British nationals Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin asked to be exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin, who was recently arrested in the pro-Western country.

    The broadcast did not specify where or by whom — Russian forces or Moscow's separatist allies in eastern Ukraine — the two men were being held.

    The recordings were presented as interviews with journalist Andrei Rudenko, of the Russian state broadcaster VGTRK.

    In the clip, Rudenko shows the two men a video published last week by Oksana Marchenko, Medvedchuk's wife, who demanded her husband's exchange for the two Britons.

    The detainees then asked in English to be exchanged for the businessman.

    In a statement released through Britain's foreign ministry, Pinner's relatives said the pair were "being held by the Russian army".

    It added both families were working with the ministry "to ensure their rights as prisoners of war are upheld according to the Geneva Convention".

  • Milica Cosic

    Thank you for reading my coverage this evening. My colleague, Louis Allwood will be back with you from 6am tomorrow.

  • Milica Cosic

    UN seeks humanitarian contact group for Ukraine

    UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths announced Monday that he will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey this week to push for the creation of a "humanitarian contact group" involving Ukraine and Russia.

    Such a group would "meet convened by the UN to discuss on a virtual or actual basis at any time to discuss humanitarian issues," Griffiths told reporters in New York.

    That could include ceasefire monitoring, safe passage, humanitarian corridors or other issues between the two warring sides, he said.

    Griffiths did not say when he would meet Erdogan, but said he planned to arrive in Turkey on Wednesday and leave Thursday.

  • Milica Cosic

    Macron says talks with Putin stalled

    Emmanuel Macron has said that his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have stalled since mass killings were discovered in Ukraine.

    “Since the massacres we have discovered in Bucha and in other towns, the war has taken a different turn, so I did not speak to him again directly since, but I don’t rule out doing so in the future”, the French president told France 5 television.

    “I will go back to Kyiv, but I will go there to bring something useful with me… because it’s obvious that I don’t need to travel there to show this support,” Macron added.

    “If I go to Kyiv, it will be to make a difference."

  • Milica Cosic

    2nd phase of war has started, says Ukraine president's chief of staff

    Ukraine's presidential chief of staff has said today that "the second phase of the war has started," referring to Russia's new assault in eastern Ukraine.

    His words echoed those of Ukraine's top security official, who said earlier that Russia had launched its new offensive this morning.

    "Believe in our army, it is very strong," chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app, assuring Ukrainians that Ukraine's forces could hold off the offensive.

  • Milica Cosic

    New set of US arms for Ukraine starting to arrive

    The first shipments of a new US military aid package have arrived at Ukraine's borders to be handed over in its fight against the Russian invasion, a senior Pentagon official said today.

    The United States on April 13 unveiled a $800-million tranche of equipment for Ukraine, including helicopters, howitzers and armored personnel carriers.

    "There have been four flights from the United States arriving into the theater just yesterday," a senior Pentagon official said, with a fifth flight due shortly.

    The package includes 18 155mm howitzers for the first time, as well as 40,000 artillery rounds, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 100 armored multi-purpose vehicles.

    "There has been an effect on Putin's ability to restock and resupply, particularly in the realm of components to some of his systems and his precision-guided munitions," the US official added.

  • Milica Cosic

    UN: Humanitarian ceasefires not on horizon

    The United Nations aid chief has said that ceasefires in Ukraine are unlikely at the moment but could happen in a few weeks.

    Martin Griffiths told reporters in New York: "Obviously, we have not yet got a humanitarian ceasefire in place on the Russian side.

    "I went into a lot of details on this and they continued to promise to get back to me on the details of those proposals.

    "Right now, if I could speak for the Russian authorities, they are not putting local ceasefires at the top of their agenda," he said.

     "Ceasefires are not on the horizon right now. They may be in a couple of weeks. They may be a bit longer than that."

  • Milica Cosic

    Russian forces capture Kreminna in east Ukraine

    Russian troops today captured the east Ukraine town of Kreminna, local authorities said.

    "There was a major attack in the night" from Sunday to Monday in Kreminna, the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media.

    "The Russian army has already entered there, with a huge amount of military hardware… Our defenders have retreated to new positions," he added.

    Ukraine's security and defence council secretary Oleksiy Danilov confirmed the Russian offensive in the east.

    "Almost along the entire front line in the territory of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv regions, the invaders tried to break through our defences," he said.

    "Fortunately, our military is holding on."

    They had however broken through in two places, he added: "Kremennaya and another small town. But the fighting continues. We do not surrender our territories."

    Kreminna, with a pre-war population of nearly 20,000 people, is around 50 kilometres (31 miles) northeast of Kramatorsk, the region's administrative centre, and is a strategic target for invading Russian forces.

  • Milica Cosic

    EU slams 'indiscriminate' Russia bombing of Ukraine civilians

    The European Union has today condemned Russian for the "indiscriminate" bombing of civilians in its invasion of Ukraine, after deadly strikes hit the western city of Lviv.

    "The EU condemns the continued indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by Russian armed forces," said a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

  • Milica Cosic

    Russia attempts to start 'active phase' of new offensive

    According to Russia's top security official, the country appears to have started its new offensive in the east of the country.

    "This morning, along almost the entire front line of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, the occupiers attempted to break through our defences," said Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov in televised comments. 

    "They began their attempt to start the active phase this morning," he added.

  • Milica Cosic

    First pictures reveal Putin's warship Moskva sinking

    CHILLING first pictures show Putin's doomed flagship Moskva on fire and sinking into the Black Sea after being shot by Ukraine.

    It comes as video footage has surfaced appearing to show the stricken Moskva with smoke pouring from it and a rescue tug boat nearby.

    They show damage to the stricken Russian warship's left side along with flames burning below deck and a thick pall of black smoke rising into the sky. 

    Moskva is then shown sitting low in the water, leaning to the port side, and appears to have deployed its lifeboats with no crew visible on board.

    Its rear helicopter door is also open, suggesting the aircraft has taken off.

    A voice in the video can be heard saying in Russian: “Mother******! What the f*** are you doing?!” before the short clip ends.

    First images purportedly showing the damaged cruiser Moskva soon after it was ‘struck by Ukrainian missiles’Credit: East2West
    The ship sank in the Black Sea in a humiliation for RussiaCredit: East2West
    Video footage has surfaced appearing to show the Moskva sinkingCredit: East2West
  • Milica Cosic

    EU slams 'indiscriminate' Russia bombing of Ukraine civilians

    The European Union on Monday condemned Russian for the "indiscriminate" bombing of civilians in its invasion of Ukraine, after deadly strikes hit the western city of Lviv.

    "The EU condemns the continued indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by Russian armed forces," said a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

  • Milica Cosic

    Police say 269 bodies recovered in Irpin

    Ukrainian investigators have examined 269 dead bodies in Irpin, near Kyiv, since the town was taken back from Russian forces in late March, a police official said today, as workers dug fresh graves on its outskirts.

    The town, which had a pre-war population of about 62,000, was one of the main hotspots of fighting with Russian troops before they pulled back from Ukraine's northern regions to intensify their offensive in the east.

    "As of now, we have inspected 269 dead bodies," said Serhiy Panteleyev, first deputy head of the police's main investigation department, at an online briefing.

    He said forensic work was ongoing to determine the cause of death for many of the victims.

    He said seven sites in Irpin where civilians were allegedly shot have been inspected, without giving further details.

  • Milica Cosic

    Putin honours brigade accused by Ukraine of 'war crimes'

    Russian President Vladimir Putin today bestowed an honorary title on a brigade accused by Ukraine of "war crimes" and mass killings in the town of Bucha.

    The announcement was made on the 54th day of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, with thousands killed and 12 million people fleeing their homes or country in the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

    A decree signed by Putin gave the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of "Guards" for defending the "Motherland and state interests" and praised the "mass heroism and valour, tenacity and courage" of its members.

    In early April, the Ukrainian defence ministry said the unit occupied the town outside the capital Kyiv and committed "war crimes".

    The Ukrainian defence ministry's Intelligence Directorate published the names, ranks and passports details of members of the brigade, saying they will face justice.

    A majority of the people killed in Bucha died from gunshot wounds, Ukrainian police said last week.

    Source: Read Full Article