Russia targets Ukrainian cities, more troops march into war
The fighting unfolded along a boomerang-shaped front hundreds of miles long in what is known as the Donbas.
Russia hurled its military might against Ukrainian cities and towns and poured more troops into the war, seeking to slice the country in two in a potentially pivotal battle for control of the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories, news agency Associated Press (AP) reported.
The fighting on Tuesday unfolded along a boomerang-shaped front hundreds of miles long in what is known as the Donbas. If successful, it would give President Vladimir Putin a victory following the failed attempt by Moscow’s forces to storm the capital, Kyiv, and heavier-than-expected casualties.
In Mariupol, the now-devastated port city in the Donbas, Ukrainian troops said the Russian military dropped heavy bombs to flatten what was left of a sprawling steel plant and hit a hospital where hundreds were staying, the report stated.
The eastern cities of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk came under deadly attack.Russia also said it struck areas around Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro west of the Donbas with missiles.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov was quoted saying Moscow’s forces bombarded numerous Ukrainian military sites, including troop concentrations and missile-warhead storage depots, in or near several cities or villages. Those claims could not be independently verified.
Both sides have described the assault that began Monday as a new phase of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russian military was throwing everything it has into the battle, with most of its combat-ready forces now concentrated in Ukraine and just across the border in Russia.
“They have driven almost everyone and everything that is capable of fighting us against Ukraine,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation.
Despite claims that they are hitting only military sites, the Russians continue to target residential areas and kill civilians, he said.
“The Russian army in this war is writing itself into world history forever as the most barbaric and inhuman army in the world,” Zelenskyy said.
Weeks ago, after the abortive Russian push to take Kyiv, the Kremlin declared that its main goal was the capture of the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years.