The ongoing campaign – which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling the “Battle of the Donbas” – comes after Russian forces shifted away from trying to capture the capital, Kyiv.
“Another stage of this operation [in eastern Ukraine] is beginning and I am sure this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation”, Lavrov told the India Today TV Channel, according to Reuters.
In a video address overnight, Zelenskyy said a “very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive.”
“No matter how many Russian troops they send there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves,” he also said.
Ukrainian security official Oleksiy Danilov said Tuesday that Russian troops are now trying to break through Ukrainian positions “along almost the entire front line of [the] Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions,” Reuters reported.
New explosions have been heard in the Donetsk region and in the cities of Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia, while air raid sirens could be heard wailing in populated areas near the front line, the news agency also reported, citing officials and local media.
So far, at least eight people reportedly have been killed and 13 have been wounded in recent fighting in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.