Ukraine’s Defense Ministry warned of attacks in Luhansk, as the US said Russia was shifting its focus to the south and east of Ukraine.
Russia is preparing to launch a new offensive in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to capture the city of Kharkiv and encircle the fortified eastern frontline of the country, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said, as Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. A US official warned that Russia is intensifying its attacks in the south and east. Ukraine.
Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said on Monday that Russia is paving the way for an attack on the regional capital Severodonetsk through attacks on the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna in the Luhansk region.
Motuzyanyk said the Russians were also gathering forces to capture the besieged port city of Mariupol, which had been besieged by Russian troops for more than four weeks.
Severodonetsk and Mariupol are located at the northern and southern extremes of Ukraine’s “line of communication” – the ceasefire line their forces have been holding against Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine since 2014. 2015.
During a press conference, Motuzyanyk also said that Russian troops are leaving Belarus for Russia, and Moscow is preparing fuel and ammunition stockpiles in the areas bordering eastern Ukraine. He said Russia is preparing medical facilities for the possibility of military casualties.
US says Russia is doubling down on attacks
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued the warning later on Monday, who said Russia was shifting its focus in the war in Ukraine to the east and south of the country.
He warned that Russia is intensifying its re-attack after pulling many troops from around the capital Kyiv, east and south of Ukraine.
“Russia is redeploying its forces to focus its offensive operations in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.
“Russia tried to subjugate all of Ukraine and it failed. It will now try to bring regions of the country under its rule. ”
The United States expects Russia to continue to conduct air and missile strikes against Kyiv and the western city of Lviv to inflict terrorism and economic damage throughout the rest of the country, said Sullivan. .
Moscow has moved about two-thirds of its troops from around Kyiv, most of which have been sent back to Belarus with a redeployment plan, a senior Pentagon official said, according to a senior Pentagon official. elsewhere in Ukraine.
Faced with the possibility of an attack on the Luhansk region, local governor Sergiy Gaiday urged residents to evacuate.
“We see equipment coming from different directions,” he said on Telegram. “They’re carrying manpower, they’re carrying fuel,” Gaiday added, in a video statement.
Gaiday said at least 1,000 people were evacuated on Monday as he pleaded with residents to leave the area as soon as possible.
“Please don’t wait for your house to be bombed,” he said in a separate video. “Don’t hesitate.”
ICRC team organizing
Separately on Monday, the Red Cross said that one of the teams it sent to evacuate civilians from Mariupol was being held by police in Russian-controlled territory.
For more than a month, Russian forces have been stationed siege of Mariupolexpose citizens to dire humanitarian conditions denounced by the international community.
Previous attempts to evacuate residents have failed, although some have attempted to escape the city, home to more than 400,000 people before the war.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been trying for days to get a team in place to provide safe passage for the thousands of civilians trying to leave.
On Monday, that team was intercepted in a nearby town that is now under Russian control. ICRC spokesman Caitlin Kelly “is being held in the town of Mangush, 20km west of Mariupol.
“The team was halted on Monday while carrying out humanitarian efforts to help navigate safe passageways for civilians.”
“The ICRC has been in direct contact with our colleagues and is talking to parties on all sides to clarify the situation and allow them to continue their humanitarian work,” she added.
Mayor Mariupol said on Monday that 90% of the area had been destroyed and about 130,000 people were still trapped as the city continued to be hit by Russian bombardment.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry believes that Russia has not succeeded in taking full control of the port city.