As the Ukrainian army has regained control of the territory surrounding Kyiv, Russia’s attention has shifted to eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which form the Donbas area, have been acknowledged as ‘independent’ states but are mostly controlled by Russia. In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government recognised Luhansk and Donetsk as ‘independent territories’.
India Today previously reported that a furious battle was still raging along the new front between Ukraine and the Donbas area — Verkhnotoretske, a Donetsk hamlet. This location is immediately ahead of Gorlovka, which Russian forces have already captured and occupied. Destroyed armoured vehicles and artillery trucks were visible at Verkhnotoretske. Due to the intensive shelling and bombing, the neighbourhood was in ruins, with surrounding buildings and a school entirely destroyed.
A monument erected in honour of Soviet soldiers who served in WWII was also destroyed during Russia’s air raids. According to a Ukrainian army soldier, this was the same location where he had battled against the Nazis during the war. Ukraine’s military is fighting hard to retake complete control of its eastern cities, particularly Mariupol, which is strategically vital for Russia since it is located between Donetsk in the Donbas area and Crimea (just past Kherson) to the south-west.