The expected Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has begun, as Moscow has announced that “the plan for the liberation of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk is being implemented”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Monday April 18 the start of the Russian offensive against this area, where deadly fighting has intensified in recent days.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday April 18 the start of the Russian offensive against eastern Ukraine, where deadly fighting has intensified in recent days. Russia says it launched a dozen strikes to break through the Ukrainian lines in this area.
Increased pressure on Kharkiv and Mariupol
The Russian army concentrates its effort on the towns close to the front line. In the Donbass, we hear on the spot the artillery fire of the rains of shells which have been smashing since last night on the Ukrainian positions. Objective: to create breaches on this line of contact. And for this, Moscow strikes in depth the military installations with long-range missiles to disrupt logistical supplies.
The Russians claim the destruction of thirteen strongholds of the Ukrainian army, but the Ukrainian soldiers hold. In the Donbass, seven attacks have been repelled in the past few hours, a colonel in kyiv said. In addition, seven Russian aerial targets were destroyed: an aircraft, four drones and two cruise missiles. In addition to Donbass, the Kremlin is stepping up pressure on two other areas, Kharkiv, the country’s second city, which remains blocked by artillery bombardments, and Mariupol, in the southeast, where a two-hour ceasefire was proposed by the Russians to obtain the surrender of the last Ukrainian soldiers who, tonight, are still fighting in the port city.
The noose is also tightening in Kramatorsk, a city whose station had been bombed. A resident confirms at the microphone of Europe 1 that Russian troops continue to gain ground. His family fled but he stayed to help the last inhabitants who have no choice.
“Families have been destroyed”
“Every day is more and more difficult,” he says. “A few days ago the Russians were more than 50 kilometers from the city. Yesterday they were 40 kilometers away. They are getting closer every day. The situation is really tough, really violent. There are more and more Russian soldiers. They are bombarding us: missiles, rockets and so on…As long as we can stay, we will stay. As long as we can help people, we will. Lots of civilians died, many civilian buildings were destroyed, families were destroyed. Here, everything is collapsing for the people, their world, their home and their future,” he said.