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Moscow has for weeks been amassing troops and supplies in preparation for its renewed assault on the Donbas region, which became the Kremlin’s primary focus after its forces failed to capture Kyiv during the first phase of the invasion. “It can now be stated that the Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive.”
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, said Russia attacked along nearly the entire front line in Donbas and Kharkiv, breaking through in two small cities. “Fortunately, our military is holding on,” Danilov said. The Pentagon did not contradict the Ukrainian assessment but took a more cautious approach, with spokesman John Kirby saying the Russians “are shaping and setting the conditions for future offensive operations.”