Russia accelerates its advance towards Donbass

Russian troops advanced into the Donbass from Kharkov, key region to outflank Ukrainian positions north of Donetsk, while consolidating their control over the south of the countrybordering the annexed Crimean peninsula.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian army has spent the last few hours concentrating troops and weapons around Izium (Kharkov) and has intensified attacks to definitively control that area.

In addition, Moscow would have transferred airborne units and up to 500 military equipment to Izium, which is located 70 kilometers from Kramatorsk, a Ukrainian military stronghold in Donbass.

The Institute for War Studies, a US think tank, confirms in its latest report that Russian forces made minor but steady gains both at Izium and along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces have also seized several small towns west of Izium in the last 24 hours.

According to the report, the Russians intend to outflank Ukrainian positions towards those areas, on the routes to Barvinkove and the Sloviansk communications hub. He also indicated that the increasing concentration of artillery pieces is likely to allow the Russian forces to achieve their objective.

The Russians also seem to be determined to retain the occupied territories, in some of which the circulation of the ruble is already being studied and its integration with the annexed Crimean peninsula is being considered, according to kyiv. “From May 1 we will be in the ruble zone,” said Kiril Stremousov, a representative of the new pro-Russian authorities in the Kherson region, neighboring Crimea.

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