The Kremlin declared its main objective to capture the eastern Donbas, a mostly Russian-speaking region where Moscow-backed separatists are fighting Ukrainian forces for eighteen years, after a failed Russian push overtook the capital.
If successful, the offensive would give President Vladimir Putin a crucial piece of Ukraine and a desperately needed victory in the 7-week-old war. This victory could be presented to the Russian people amid increasing casualties and economic hardships caused by sanctions.
It would effectively split Ukraine into two, and take away its main industrial assets, which are located in the east, such as coal mines and machine-building facilities.
The Ukrainian military stated Tuesday morning that a new phase of war began when the "occupyers" attempted to breach our defenses along almost all of our front line.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, stated that large numbers of Russian troops had been committed to the campaign. However, some observers pointed out that there has been an escalation in the area for some time and wondered if this was the beginning of a new offensive.
Justin Crump, an ex-british tank commander, is now with Sibylline's strategic advisory company Sibylline and suggested that the Ukrainian comments could be part of an effort to persuade other allies to send more arms.
Crump stated, "What they're trying do is to... focus people’s minds and effort by saying: 'Look, conflict has started in the Donbas.' This partly makes it difficult for NATO and EU suppliers, Crump said, to declare, "Guys! We're starting to fight right now." This is what we need now.
The key to strengthening Ukraine's defense has been the American and European arms. This helped the weak country to resist the Russians. Zelenskyy was told Tuesday by Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, that the Netherlands would send more material, including armored vehicles.
According to Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson, air-launched missiles had destroyed 13 Ukrainian troop and weapon locations. The air force also struck 60 other Ukrainian military facilities including missile warhead storage bases.
Konashenkov stated Tuesday that Russian artillery had struck 1,260 Ukrainian military buildings and 1,214 troops concentrations in the last 24 hours. These claims cannot be independently verified.
Monday's attacks began along a front stretching more than 300 miles (480 km) from the northeastern Ukraine to its southeast.
Russia claimed that it had struck multiple areas with missiles including Kharkiv, a northeastern city, as well as Zaporizhzhia (west of the Donbas) and Dnipro.
Associated Press journalists in Kharkiv reported that at least four people died and three were injured in a Russian attack against a residential area in the city. The area is located near the frontlines and has been subject to repeated shelling. Residents tried to maintain a sense normality Tuesday by planting spring flowers in public places.
According to AP journalists, an explosion rocked Kramatorsk, the eastern city, killing at most one person and injuring three others.
The extent of Russia's advance has been revealed by eyewitness accounts and official reports. However, it is difficult to get independent information in many areas of the Donbas that are held by Russian forces or separatists.
According to Luhansk Gov., Moscow's troops took control of one Donbas town on Monday. Serhiy Haidai. Oleksiy Danilov (secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council) stated that the defensive line had been held elsewhere.
Kreminna's breakthrough brings the Russians closer to their goal of encircling Ukrainian forces in the region.
British General Richard Barrons, a retired general, stated to the BBC that the Russians would approach the Ukrainians not only from the east but also from the north, south and west in order to get around them. This is a more complicated military problem for the Ukrainians.
The campaign to take over the east hinges on the capture of Mariupol. This is the port city in Donbas that the Russians have been occupying since the beginning of the war. Shelling continued.
According to the Russians, a few thousand Ukrainian troops were hiding in a sprawling steel factory, which was thought to be the last major resistance area in the demolished city.
Russia gave a new ultimatum Tuesday to Ukrainian defenders. It said those who came out would "keep their life" and that a cease-fire had been declared in the area to allow the combatants to leave the plant. These offers have been ignored by the Ukrainians, and there is no confirmation that a ceasefire has been made.
Ramzan Kadyrov (the Kremlin-backed leader in Chechnya), whose forces took part in the fighting at Mariupol, stated on a messaging platform that Russian forces would exterminate the Ukrainian resistance in just hours and take control of the steel mill on Tuesday. Kadyrov, who is well-known for his exaggerated predictions of the city's demise in the past, has predicted it repeatedly.
The Russian troops would be free to move in the Donbas and Ukraine would lose Mariupol. This would also make it impossible for Ukraine to have a vital port and create a land bridge between Russia, Russia, and the Crimean Peninsula.