Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has begun, Kiev says


“Russian troops have launched the Battle of the Donbas,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said as the attacks escalated.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia’s long-awaited military offensive in eastern Ukraine has begun.
  • Donetsk governor says four civilians were killed in Russian shelling.
  • The US plans to train Ukrainians on howitzer artillery systems in the coming days, a senior defense official has said.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin says Western sanctions against Moscow have failed.

Here are all the latest updates:

Another US shipment of military aid to Ukraine is expected to arrive

Psaki has said four planes delivered US military assistance to Ukraine over the weekend, with a fifth expected to arrive.

“Another one is believed to arrive today, if not already, of the $800 million package” of additional US aid to Kiev announced last week, the White House spokeswoman said.

Learn more about what’s in that US military package here.

Members of Ukrainian Volunteer Corps sit next to a howitzer
Members of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps sit next to a howitzer, March 27, 2022 [Stanislav Yurchenko/Reuters]

US considers additional sanctions against Russia: White House

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said the Biden administration “continues to review and consider additional sanctions” against Russia.

Psaki said existing US measures have resulted in a “squeeze” in the Russian economy planned by Biden and senior government officials. “We continue to evaluate and I expect to have more in the coming days,” she told reporters.

Four killed in shelling in Ukraine’s Donetsk region: Governor

Russian shelling in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region has killed four people, Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on his Telegram channel.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the figure.

‘Battle of the Donbas’ has begun, Zelenskyy says. from Ukraine

Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff says “the second phase of the war has begun”, referring to Russia’s new attack in the east of the country.

“Believe in our army, it is very strong,” Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app, assuring Ukrainians that Ukrainian forces would be able to hold off the offensive.

In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy also said: “We can now say that Russian troops have started the battle of the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time.”

US to start training Ukrainians on howitzer guns in the coming days

The United States plans to train Ukrainians in operating howitzer artillery systems in the coming days, a senior US defense official has said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said howitzer training would take place outside Ukraine.

The Biden administration recently announced a new $800 million weapons package for Ukraine to help the country bolster its defenses against an anticipated Russian offensive in the east. Read more here.

Ukraine says it has seen signs that Russia’s offensive in the east has begun

The Ukrainian Armed Forces command has said it believes that Russia had begun another attempt to take control of the east, increasing the intensity of the attacks.

“This morning [Monday]along almost the entire frontline of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkov regions, the occupiers tried to breach our defences,” Security Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in television commentary.

This was echoed by the governor of the Luhansk region, Sergiy Gaiday. ‘It’s hell. The offensive has begun, which we have been talking about for weeks. There is constant fighting in Rubizhne and Popasna, and fighting in other peaceful cities,” he said on Facebook.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all updates from Monday 18 April here.

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