Ukraine: Graphic shows first 80 days of fighting
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The map by Criticial Threats beginning on February 25 shows Russian troops gaining territory in Ukraine at the start of the invasion in Chernobyl, Sumy, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson. But by April 3, Ukraine had pushed military out of Russian-controlled areas before they closed in on Kyiv. Rusian troops then made significant withdrawals from northeast Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russian forces bombarded areas of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region from land and air on Friday, destroying houses in residential districts and killing a number of civilians, Ukrainian officials said.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the assaults had turned the Donbas into “hell”.
As the war neared its three-month mark, the Ukrainian general staff said massive artillery barrages, including multiple rocket-launchers, had hit civilian infrastructure.
Russian aircraft had also struck at targets, the general staff said in a statement.
“The Russian army has started very intensive destruction of the town of Sievierodonetsk, the intensity of shelling doubled, they are shelling residential quarters, destroying house by house,” Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said via his Telegram channel.
“We do not know how many people died, because it is simply impossible to go through and look at every apartment,” he said.
Earlier reports had put the civilian death toll in the Luhansk area of the Donbas at 13 in the past day, with 12 of them in Sievierodonetsk, which lies on a river about 110 km (70 miles) northwest of the regional capital.
“The Donbas is completely destroyed,” President Zelenskiy said in an address on Thursday night. “It is hell there – and that is not an exaggeration.”
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In Moscow, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the “liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic” would be completed soon.
The industrial region compromises the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, parts of which are controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.
“Groupings of the Russian Armed Forces, together with units of the people’s militia of the Lugansk (Luhansk) and Donetsk people’s republics, continue to expand control over the territories of the Donbas,” Shoigu said in a speech.
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Russia’s focus on the Donbas follows its failure to capture the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24.
In the weeks of warfare pitting Russia’s military might against dogged Ukrainian resistance, thousands of people have been killed and whole towns and cities shattered in the gravest crisis in Europe in decades.
Almost a third of Ukraine’s people have fled their homes, including more than 6 million who have left the country in a refugee exodus, while others remain trapped in cities pulverised by Russian bombardments.
British military intelligence said on Friday Russia is likely to further reinforce its operations in the Donbas once it finally secures the southern port city of Mariupol – scene of a weeks-long siege and Russia’s most significant success in a campaign of mixed fortunes for the Kremlin.
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