A Major Battle for Eastern Ukraine Looms

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Russian forces are preparing for a major, imminent offensive to take eastern Ukraine in what is likely to be the fiercest fighting yet.

  • Suffering heavy losses due to an agile Ukrainian resistance, Russian forces have given up on taking Kyiv—for now—and have been repositioning in eastern Ukraine in preparation for a new offensive.
  • Russian troops and tanks have been amassing in the breakaway Donbas region in the east of the country, where Russian-backed fighters have been waging a long separatist war.
  • Ukrainian and US officials expect those troops to launch a series of major attacks with the goal of establishing Russian control of eastern Ukraine, including the besieged city of Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian officials say they are preparing to fight the Russian advance in what is expected to be the biggest military clash yet—though Ukrainian forces remain heavily outnumbered and outgunned.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russian forces, should they successfully take the region, won’t stop in the east. He said he expects them to continue onward toward Kyiv.
  • Ukrainians have evacuated en masse from cities in the east. According to intelligence reports, Putin hopes to claim control over the area by May 9—the day Russians mark their World War II victory.
The Washington Post
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How will Russia attack in east Ukraine?

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4 min read