The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Russian convoy heads toward eastern Ukraine as new Mariupol death toll emerges

Natalia Titova, 62, had lived in the northern city of Chernihiv, Ukraine, for over 30 years. Her home was destroyed after weeks of shelling by Russian forces. (Video: Reuters)
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An eight-mile convoy of Russian troops heading toward Ukraine’s Donbas region is the latest evidence that Moscow is preparing for a large-scale attack on the country’s east, while staggering fatality figures that emerged from Mariupol on Monday underscored the devastating effect of Russia’s siege tactics.

The long line of Russian vehicles, visible in satellite images, looks to be part of an effort to reinforce and resupply the Kremlin’s forces in the area, a Pentagon official said. The offensive, which analysts have forecast for days, has not yet begun, but the shift represents a new phase of the war after Russia failed to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Donbas — a large swath of the country’s easternmost territory, stretching from the Luhansk oblast south to Mariupol — has been the site of fierce fighting. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian military there since 2014, and Mariupol emerged as an epicenter of violence early in Russia’s invasion in late February. The city’s mayor said Monday that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in recent weeks, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated a toll of “tens of thousands.”

Here’s what to know

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Here's what to know:

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer became the first Western leader to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Biden met virtually Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to push the country to abandon its neutral stance on the war.
A senior U.S. defense official said there is “no evidence” that suggests Russian forces destroyed an S-300 air defense system, countering Russian claims.
UNICEF reported that nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes since the start of the war.
Zelensky said Ukraine takes threats of chemical weapons “as seriously as possible,” as unverified reports of their use by Russian forces circulated online.
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