Russia invades Ukraine

Firefighters drive toward a blaze at a factory after a Russian attack on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 15. (Felipe Dana/AP)

Russian attacks have intensified in a number of locations in eastern Ukraine, including Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk, according to Ukrainian military and regional officials.

Russian forces appear to be heavily shelling areas of all three regions ahead of a planned ground offensive.

In the area of ​​Slobozhansky, an area south of Kharkiv, “the Russian enemy’s main focus is on redeployment and reinforcement of troops,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said.

Russian forces are aiming to blockade the city of Kharkiv, which continues to face sustained shelling, and have concentrated up to 22 tactical battalion groups around Izyum, the General Staff added. A tactical battalion group typically includes about 1,000 soldiers.

“The enemy’s main efforts are focused on maintaining previously occupied positions,” it said, referring to the deployment of additional Russian units.

In the Donetsk region, Russian efforts have focused on capturing the cities of Popasna and Rubishne while gaining full control of the strategic port city of Mariupol, she added.

The General Staff also spoke of constant shelling of Ukrainian positions around Popasna, saying that Russian forces “are trying to improve the tactical situation of penetrating deep into the Popasna settlement” but were eventually thwarted.

It reported increased shelling around the city of Severodonetsk “to inflict casualties, decimate our troops and possibly prepare for offensive operations” and further south at Toretsk.

One person was killed in Kreminna, northwest of Severodonetsk, a local official said.

Efforts to evacuate residents of the cities of Rubizhne and Kreminna to safety amid heavy fighting in the region continue, said Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional administration. He added that Severodonetsk has neither water nor gas.

In the last day, ten Russian enemy attacks were repelled in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the General Staff added.

“The main events that we will talk about in the coming days, or rather weeks, will be events related to the fighting in Ukraine’s Donbass,” Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, said on Saturday.

Russian missile attacks have spread to other areas outside the Donbass region, Ukrainian officials say.

One person was killed in an attack on a village near the city of Poltava, said Dmytro Lunin, the head of the Poltava military administration.

The country’s top general said he spoke to the top US military on Friday.

Valery Saluzhny said he had discussions with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about “heavy fighting on the Kharkiv-Isyum border, deterring the Russian offensive in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the critical situation around Mariupol and rocket fire across Ukraine.” spoken. Gen. Mark Milley.

“I reiterated the urgent need of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for weapons and ammunition to strengthen our defense capabilities,” Zaluzhny added.

The news comes as Russian preparations for an offensive operation in eastern Ukraine continue.

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