Source: AP News

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) Russia assaulted cities and towns along a boomerang-shaped front hundreds of miles long and poured more troops into Ukraine on Tuesday in a potentially pivotal battle for control of the country’s eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories.

If successful, the Russian offensive in what is known as the Donbas would essentially slice Ukraine in two and give President Vladimir Putin a badly needed victory after the failed attempt by Moscow’s forces to storm the capital, Kyiv, and heavier-than-expected casualties nearly two months into the war.

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The cities of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk came under deadly attack, and Russia also said it struck areas around Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro west of the Donbas with missiles.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Moscow’s forces bombarded numerous Ukrainian military sites, including troop concentrations and missile-warhead storage depots, in or near several cities or villages. The claims could not be independently verified.

In what both sides described as a new phase of the war, the Russian assault began Monday along a front stretching more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) from northeastern Ukraine to the country’s southeast. Ukraine’s military said Russian forces tried to “break through our defenses along nearly the entire front line.”

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