Russia has launched an assault to seize the eastern Donbas region. In a video address Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow bombarded cities with rocket and artillery fire yesterday and that the battle for the Donbas has begun. Ukraine’s top security official, Oleksiy Danilov, said that Russia tried to break through Ukrainian front lines in the region. The offensive has been long-expected after Russia failed to seize Kyiv.

Russia initially appeared to want to capture major Ukrainian cities and topple the government but after facing stiff resistance, Russian defence officials said that its main objectives in the first stage of the operation had been generally accomplished and its forces were moved from areas around the capital. They announced plans to redirect the focus of the operation towards the liberation of the Russian speaking Donbas region.

Throughout Monday, Russia unleashed a barrage of rocket and artillery fire on a number of eastern areas, with eight civilians killed in the city of Kreminna in Luhansk and in the Donetsk area. Seven people were killed and 11 more were injured in four Russian strikes in Lviv, a western city that has largely been spared the attacks seen elsewhere in Ukraine.