Russia-Ukraine War Updates: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said Russia’s large-scale offensive in the eastern Donbas region had begun. “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," he said on Telegram. “No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves."
Fighting has intensified in eastern Ukraine after Russia withdrew troops from the region around the capital Kyiv and refocused its efforts on the Donbas region that pro-Moscow separatists have partly controlled since 2014.
Shortly before Zelensky’s address, the regional governor of the eastern Lugansk region Sergiy Gaiday also announced the beginning of Russia’s much-anticipated attack. “It’s hell. The offensive has begun, the one we’ve been talking about for weeks. There’s constant fighting in Rubizhne and Popasna, fighting in other peaceful cities," he said on Facebook.
Here Are All the Latest Developments Related to Russia-Ukraine War:
• India’s exports to Russia have resumed with containers carrying goods including tea, rice, fruits, coffee, marine products and confectionery shipping out last week, Economic Times quoted people with knowledge of the matter. The report stated that banks led by Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, are facilitating settlement of bilateral trade moving largely through ports in Georgia. “The transactions are happening through Sberbank," Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, was quoted as saying. “We have just shipped 60 containers of non-basmati rice to Russia, each weighing 22,000 kg," said Ashwin Shah, director at Shah Nanji Nagji Exports, a leading exporter of rice to Russia. “Payment for our rice is being handled by Russia-based Alfa Bank. Bank of Maharashtra is our Indian bank."
• Russia’s Military Sites Now Visible on Google: Google Maps made Russia’s strategic facilities visible to users Monday, revealing the details of the country’s military infrastructure, The Moscow Times reported. “Now everyone can see [Russian military infrastructure] with a resolution of about 0.5 meters per pixel,” tweeted the Ukrainian armed forces. Satellite images of military facilities are traditionally blurred, or displayed in lower quality, by Google Maps to protect their classified status. The move comes amid strained relations between Russia and US tech giant Google.
• Russian shelling killed at least eight civilians in eastern Ukraine on Monday, according to local authorities. Regional governor of the eastern Lugansk region Sergiy Gaiday said four people died as they tried to flee the city of Kreminna in Lugansk, which Russian forces captured on Monday.
• Russia claims arms depot hit: Russia’s army says it has destroyed a large depot of foreign weapons recently delivered to Ukraine near the western city of Lviv — one of 16 Ukrainian military sites it claims to have destroyed on Monday. Russian planes in the morning struck a logistics centre holding “large batches of foreign weaponry, delivered to Ukraine over the past six days by the United States and European countries", and “destroyed" them, says Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
• Eight Killed in East: Russian strikes have killed at least eight civilians in the embattled eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, local authorities say. Four died as they tried to escape the city of Kreminna which Russian forces captured earlier on Monday, Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday says on Telegram. Four others died in Russian bombing in the neighbouring region of Donetsk, says regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
• 7 Killed in Lviv, 3 in Kharkiv: Five “powerful" Russian missiles hit the western city of Lviv, killing at least seven people and wounding eight, local officials say. Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed at least three people.
• EU Condemns ‘Indiscriminate’ Strikes: The European Union condemns “indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians" by Russian forces, in a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “Attacks on Lviv and other cities in western Ukraine show that no part of the country is spared from the Kremlin’s senseless onslaught," he said.
• Putin Honours Bucha-linked Brigade: Russian President Vladimir Putin bestows an honorary title on a brigade accused by Ukraine of “war crimes" and mass killings in the town of Bucha. A decree signed by Putin gives the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of “Guards" for defending the “Motherland and state interests" and praises the “mass heroism and valour, tenacity and courage" of its members.
• Tycoon Seeks Prisoner Exchange: Russian state television broadcasts a video of two men it says are captured Britons, asking to be exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk, a recently captured wealthy Ukrainian tycoon close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s security services then put out a video of Medvedchuk asking to be exchanged for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers trapped in the strategic besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol.
• Civilian Evacuations Paused: Ukraine says it is halting civilian evacuations from the frontline towns and cities in the east of the country for a second day. “In violation of international humanitarian law, the Russian occupiers have not stopped blocking and shelling humanitarian routes," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk posts on social media Monday.
• Nearly 5 mn Fled Ukraine, Says UN: More than 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled their country following the Russian invasion, says the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR. It says 4,934,415 Ukrainians have now quit the country, up more than 65,000 on the previous day.
• Moscow Job Losses: Some 200,000 employees of foreign companies in Moscow could lose their jobs due to sanctions over Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the city’s mayor says. Sergei Sobyanin says authorities had last week approved a $41-million programme to support employment in the Russian capital.
• Russian troops have dropped bunker bombs on the Mariupol steel plant, the commander of Azov Regiment of the National Guard, Denys Prokopenko, said. “Russian occupational forces, and their proxy… know about the civilians, and they keep willingly firing on the factory,” Prokopenko added.
• A senior Pentagon official on Monday confirmed that the first shipment of the USD 800 million military packages arrived at the Ukraine border. “There have been four flights from the United States arriving into the theatre just yesterday,” the official said, as quoted by The Guardian. This is a part of the new defence aid tranche signed by US president Joe Biden last week, which includes the supply of helicopters, Humvees, and armoured personnel carriers.