On Tuesday, Russian forces launched an all-out frontal assault on eastern Ukraine, kicking off the long-awaited "Battle for Donbas."
Following Ukrainian officials' statements, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, that Russia had initiated a "new phase of the war" in the east, regions in the Donbas were hit overnight and early this morning.
"The occupiers attempted to breach our defenses along nearly the entirety of the frontline," the general staff said in an early Tuesday statement.
Zelensky stated in a video address overnight that a "significant portion of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive." "We will fight regardless of how many Russian troops they send there. We will retaliate."
According to Zelensky's office, at least eight people have been killed and thirteen others injured in shelling or fighting in Luhansk and Donetsk frontline towns and villages.
Andriy Yermak, his chief of staff, promised Ukrainians that their forces could fend off the attack.
"Believe in our army; it is extremely powerful," he stated.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that Moscow had begun a new phase of what it refers to as its special military operation in Ukraine, a development he predicted would be significant.
"A new stage of this operation (in eastern Ukraine) has begun, and I am confident that this will be a watershed moment for this entire special operation," Lavrov told India Today TV.
The general staff in southern Donetsk stated that the Russian military had blockaded and shelled the vital port city of Mariupol and fired missiles at other cities.
Russia issued an ultimatum to the remaining Ukrainian defenders holed up in a massive steel factory in Mariupol: surrender by noon (0900 GMT) or perish.
"Everyone who surrenders their arms is guaranteed survival," the defense ministry stated.
Separatists backed by Russia said that pro-Moscow forces were prepared to raid the Azovstal facility, thought to be the last bastion of Ukrainian troops surviving the war's most prolonged and most savage siege.
Russian troops have already occupied Izyum, a city located along a highway north of Slovyansk, and are preparing to advance on the town from the north and east. Slovyansk is located just north of another critical city, Kramatorsk, which was devastated by a previous Russian strike on a train station.
Since 2014, when Russia utilized proxies to establish separatist "people's republics" in Luhansk and Donetsk, the coal and steel-producing Donbas has been the focal center of Russia's campaign to destabilize Ukraine.
After being repulsed by Ukrainian forces in March from an attack on Kyiv in the north, Russia pushed troops into the east in preparation for a ground onslaught in two provinces known as the Donbas. Additionally, it has launched long-range strikes against other targets, including the capital.
Ukrainian media reported heavy explosions along the Donetsk region's front line and shelling in Marinka, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk.
Officials and media reported officials and media heard. Officials and media said officials and media heard. Blasts were heard in Kharkiv in the northeast, Mykolaiv in the south, and Zaporizhzhia in the southeast. At the same time, air raid sirens sounded in major cities near the front line.
According to Russia's Belgorod province governor, the Ukrainian military struck a border settlement, hurting one civilian.
Western countries and Ukraine accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of unjustified aggression. The White House announced on Tuesday that US Vice President Joe Biden would phone allies to address the crisis, including how to coordinate efforts to hold Russia accountable.
French President Emmanuel Macron stated that his discussion with Putin had halted following the discovery of mass deaths in Ukraine.
Moscow said that its missiles targeted military targets in eastern and central Ukraine, including ammo stores, command centers, and groupings of men and vehicles. It said that its artillery had struck hundreds of Ukrainian targets and that airplanes had carried out 108 strikes against Ukrainian troops and military equipment. Independent verification of the assertions was not possible.