Russia is approaching the occupation of the Donbus region of Ukraine

Russia has approached its goal of completely occupying coal mines and factories, the industrial centers of eastern Ukraine, as the Kremlin claimed to control 97% of one of the two states that make up the Donbas region. rice field.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Moscow troops control almost all of Luhansk Oblast. And, according to Ukrainian officials and military analysts, Russia now occupies about half of Donetsk Oblast.

Russia has declared its main purpose to seize the entire Donbus after abandoning its unsuccessful attempt to attack Kieu two months ago. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces in Donbus since 2014. The region has been blamed for Russia’s onslaught in recent weeks.

In the early days of the war, Russian troops also controlled the entire Kherson region and most of the Zaporizhia region. Russian officials and their local appointees discussed plans for these regions to declare independence or be integrated into Russia.

But, perhaps the latest case of anti-Russian sabotage in Ukraine, Russian state media said Tuesday that an explosion at a cafe in Kherson had injured four people. The Tass news agency called the apparent bombing of Russian-occupied cities “acts of terrorism.”

Prior to the February 24 invasion, Ukrainian officials said Russia controlled about 7% of the country, including the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, a region owned by the separatists of Donetsk and Luhansk. rice field. Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops own 20% of the country.

Russia has excellent firepower, but Ukrainian defenders are well established and show the ability to fight back.

Zelenskyy said Russian troops have made no significant progress in the eastern Donbus region over the past day.

“Dombus’s absolutely heroic defense continues,” he said in his nightly video speech late Tuesday.

Zelenskyy said the Russians apparently did not expect to meet so much resistance and are now trying to bring in additional troops and equipment. He said the same applies to the Kherson region.

Zelensky spoke earlier at the Financial Times meeting, arguing that Ukraine needed to defeat Russia on the battlefield, but said it was still open to peace talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Zelensky.

But a senior US intelligence officer said the time wasn’t right.

Andrea Kendal Taylor of the Center for a New American Security said:

“Russians take the whole Donbus and think it can be used as an opportunity for negotiations,” Kendall Taylor said in an online seminar hosted by Columbia University and New York University.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow troops are fighting to occupy the residential area of ​​Sieviero Donetsk and control the industrial areas of the suburbs of Moscow and neighboring towns.

Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk have experienced fierce fighting in recent weeks. They are located in one of the few cities and towns in the Luhansk region that are still enduring the Russian invasion supported by the local pro-Kremlin army.

Shoigu added that Russian troops are attacking the town of Popasna, controlling Lyman and Subiathhilsk, and 15 other towns in the region.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mihairo Podriak urged his people not to be offended by the reversal of the battlefield.

“Don’t scare the news that we ceded something,” he said at the video address. “It’s clear that tactical operations are underway. We give up something and get something back.”

Governor Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, admitted that Russian troops control the industrial suburbs of Sieviero Donetsk.

“The toughest street battles are going on, and the degree of success varies,” said Haidai. “The situation is constantly changing, but the Ukrainians are repelling the attack.”

Moscow troops also continued to bombard Lysychansik. Heidi said Russian troops bombarded market, school and university buildings and destroyed the latter. He said at least three people were injured.

“The complete destruction of the city is underway. Russian artillery has been significantly intensified in the last 24 hours. Russians are using scorched earth operations,” Haidai said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has begun training Ukrainian troops on sophisticated multiple rocket launchers that the Biden administration has agreed to offer last week. The Pentagon said the training was taking place at bases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is mounted on trucks and can carry containers with six rockets that can travel approximately 45 miles (70 km). Officials said it would take about three weeks of training to get to the front.

In another development, Ukraine will publish a special “executioner’s book” next week with information on war crimes committed by Russian troops, Zelensky said.

“These are certain facts about certain people convicted of certain cruel crimes against Ukrainians,” he said. He said the nominated people would include not only those who committed the crime, but their commanders.

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