Russia invades Ukraine: Russian forces capture Kreminna in east Ukraine's Donbas

Russia invades Ukraine: Russian forces capture Kreminna in east Ukraine's Donbas
The New Arab is providing live updates of what's been happening on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance.
10 min read
19 April, 2022

Russian troops on Monday captured the east Ukraine town of Kreminna, local authorities said, as Kyiv's armed forces launched salvoes on Russian forces in the nearby settlement of Rubizhne.

"There was a major attack in the night" from Sunday to Monday in Kreminna, the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media.

"The Russian army has already entered there, with a huge amount of military hardware... Our defenders have retreated to new positions," he added.

The capture of the city of Kreminna may have heralded the start of a widely anticipated major Russian offensive in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region as fierce fighting raged in neighbouring Rubizhne.

Moscow has decided to refocus its efforts on eastern Ukraine after withdrawing troops from the region around the capital Kyiv, creating a new epicentre in the conflict.

The Donets river skirts Kreminna and snakes through nearby Rubizhne, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which have withstood heavy shelling from both sides for several days on the frontline.

"We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later said on Monday evening.

11:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The New Arab's live coverage of the latest from the Russian invasion of Ukraine concludes for today.

Here were the key developments from Tuesday:

Donbas offensive

Russia says its forces have carried out dozens of airstrikes in eastern Ukraine as part of a new offensive in the Donbas region that had been expected for days.

Moscow says the strikes targeted Ukrainian positions in parts of the Donbas as well as in towns close to the eastern frontline.

"We are gradually implementing our plan to liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says, referring to eastern Ukraine's two rebel regions, which Moscow has recognised as independent states.

Fighting in Mariupol

Fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces is "ongoing" in the strategic port of Mariupol, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, says.

Russia earlier on Tuesday called on Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to "immediately" lay down their arms in a new ultimatum.

Russian forces are believed to have gradually pushed their way into the city, pinning Ukrainian troops down to giant factories near the port, which are equipped with vast underground tunnels.

Biden talks with allies

US President Joe Biden holds a virtual meeting of allies to discuss the Ukraine conflict.

The videoconference brings together the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Romania, Poland, Italy, Canada and Japan.

The United States and the European Union have reached a "broad consensus" on the need to increase pressure on Russia through new sanctions, the Italian government says after the talks.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says after the meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for war crimes in Ukraine that have already left thousands of civilians dead.

Easter truce call

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounces Russia's fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine and calls for a four-day truce to mark Orthodox Holy Week.

"Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance," the United Nations chief says, adding a truce would allow safe passage for civilians to flee the eastern war zone, and for humanitarian aid to be delivered to the hardest-hit areas.

New US arms delivery

The first shipments of a new US military aid package have arrived at Ukraine's borders to be handed over, a senior Pentagon official says.

The package includes 18 155mm howitzers for the first time, as well as 40,000 artillery rounds, 200 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 100 armoured multi-purpose vehicles.

Nearly 5 mn have fled Ukraine: UN

More than 4.9 million Ukrainians have fled their country following the Russian invasion, says the UN's refugee agency.

the UNHCR says 4,980,589 Ukrainians had left since Russia invaded on February 24 - a figure up 46,174 on Monday's total.

Join us tomorrow for the latest updates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Make sure to follow our TwitterFacebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest news and analysis.

11:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia urges Ukrainian forces to 'immediately' lay down arms

Russia has called on Ukrainian forces to "immediately" lay down arms and issued a new ultimatum for the defenders of the besieged port city of Mariupol to give up.

The Russian defence ministry's warning came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late on Monday the start of a new offensive by Moscow that is focused on the east of the former Soviet state.

"We once again call on the Kyiv authorities to show reason and give the corresponding orders to fighters to cease their senseless resistance," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

"But, understanding that they will not get such instructions and orders from the Kyiv authorities, we call on (the fighters) to voluntarily take this decision and to lay down their arms."

The statement made no direct mention of a new ground offensive in eastern Ukraine.

9:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia tycoon denounces Kremlin's 'massacre' in Ukraine

Russian tycoon Oleg Tinkov denounced Moscow's "massacre" in pro-Western Ukraine and urged the West to help end "this insane war".

Offering some of the strongest criticism of the Kremlin's military action in Ukraine by a prominent Russian, Tinkov claimed online that 90 percent of Russians were "AGAINST this war" and called the country's forces a "shit army."

One of Russia's best-known entrepreneurs, Tinkov founded Tinkoff Bank in 2006. He has been based outside Russia in recent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 to "de-Nazify" the pro-Western country. The conflict has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 12 million in the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

"Waking up with a hangover, the generals realised that they have a shit army," Tinkov, 54, said in a post on Instagram.

"And how will the army be good, if everything else in the country is shit and mired in nepotism, sycophancy and servility?"

The businessman, who has been targeted by Western sanctions, added: "I don't see a SINGLE beneficiary of this insane war! Innocent people and soldiers are dying."

Switching to English, Tinkov, who stepped down as chairman of Tinkoff Bank in 2020, said:

"Dear 'collective West' please give Mr.Putin a clear exit to save his face and stop this massacre. Please be more rational and humanitarian."

8:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine claims Russia using bunker-buster bombs on Azovstal plant

A Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Tuesday that Russia was hitting the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the city of Mariupol, with bunker-buster bombs.

"The world watches the murder of children online and remains silent," adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

Mariupol's city council said on Monday that over 1,000 civilians were sheltering in basement premises underneath the Azovstal plant.

7:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

AU urges dialogue in Ukraine conflict in call with Russian FM

African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat told Russia on Tuesday that international law must be respected in the war in Ukraine and appealed for dialogue to end the conflict.

Faki, who heads the executive branch of the pan-African body, said on Twitter that he had received a phone call from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"I stressed for the need to respect international law and urged for dialogue for a peaceful solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine," he said in a brief post.

His comments came after Lavrov acknowledged "another phase" of the conflict was beginning as Moscow launched dozens of air strikes across eastern Ukraine overnight.

7:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United States to send Ukraine more artillery

The United States will send more artillery to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters today, following his call earlier with allied leaders over Russia's invasion.

Asked if the United States would be sending more artillery to Ukraine, Biden said yes.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki earlier told reporters travelling with Biden to New Hampshire that the administration would continue to provide more ammunition and other military assistance.

4:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Kyiv says Russia aims to grab land, crush Ukraine's armed forces

The aim of Russia's new military offensive in east Ukraine is to grab land, establish an overground link between territories in the east and Crimea, and crush Ukraine's armed forces, Ukraine's defence ministry said on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuznyak said Russian forces were attacking along the entire frontline in eastern Ukraine, pressing their siege of Mariupol in the south and trying to encircle cities in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

"The goal is to defeat the Ukrainian forces, to establish control over the territory of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and establish a land corridor to Crimea," Motuznyak told a briefing.

"The main efforts are to break through the positions held by Ukrainian troops and they have not stopped trying to gain full control over Mariupol," Motuznyak said.

Summing up Russia's tactics, he said: "Usually, they are: powerful artillery preparation, an attempt to storm particular positions, attempts to stymie the actions of units of Ukraine's armed forces, attempts to surround our units, and to capture settlements. Russia is mainly waging war according to the textbooks of the Soviet era."

4:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine says received 76 prisoners of war in swap with Russia

Ukraine said Tuesday it had got back 60 soldiers and 16 civilians in a prisoner swap with Moscow, without giving details on how many Russians went home in the exchange.

"Today we exchanged 60 servicemen, including ten officers. Sixteen civilians are also returning home," Kyiv's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

She said it was the fifth prisoner exchange between the two countries since the Russian invasion began.

As in previous prisoner swaps, she gave no details on how many Russians were exchanged.

4:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia's war in Ukraine to blame for rising global food insecurity: Yellen

Russia's war in Ukraine is to blame for exacerbating "already dire" world food insecurity, with price and supply shocks adding to global inflationary pressures, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday.

Even before the war, over 800 million people - or 10 percent of the global population - were suffering from chronic food insecurity, Yellen said, and estimates showed higher food prices alone could push at least 10 million more people into poverty.

Yellen told a high-level panel countries should avoid export bans that could further increase prices, while stepping up support for vulnerable populations and smallholder farmers, a message underscored by German Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

"I want to be clear: Russia’s actions are responsible for this," Yellen said, adding that the United States was working urgently with partners and allies to "help mitigate the effects of Russia’s reckless war on the world’s most vulnerable."

4:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN chief calls for four-day humanitarian pause in fighting in Ukraine

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called for a four-day Orthodox Easter humanitarian pause in fighting in Ukraine to allow for the safe passage of civilians to leave areas of conflict and the delivery of humanitarian aid to hard-hit areas.

Guterres said the United Nations was submitting detailed plans to the parties and was ready to send humanitarian aid convoys to Mariupol, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk beginning on Holy Thursday and running through Sunday, the date of Orthodox Easter, which is celebrated by most Ukrainians and Russians.

"Humanitarian needs are dire. People do not have food, water, supplies to treat the sick or wounded or simply to live day-to-day," Guterres told reporters at the United Nations in New York.

4:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukrainian forces are continuing to resist a Russian onslaught in the besieged city of Mariupol, authorities have said.

Russia has captured almost all of the city but fighting is continuing around the factories near the port.

"There is fighting ongoing in Mariupol. This is street fighting," Pavlo Kyrylenko governor of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region said.

Ukrainian forces there are "under heavy bombardment" but "continue to defend Mariupol."

Hundreds of civilians are also believed to be holed up at the site.

2:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least three dead, 16 wounded in shelling of Ukraine's Kharkiv: governor

At least three people were killed and 16 wounded on Tuesday in shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, Oleh Synehubov, the regional governor, said on the Telegram messaging app.

9:06 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukraine says no civilian evacuations for third day

Ukraine said Tuesday there would be no humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians in the country for a third consecutive day because there has been no agreement with Russia.

"Today, April 19, there will unfortunately be no humanitarian corridor," Ukaine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Telegram.

"The intense bombardment of Donbas is continuing."

Vereshchuk said that "the Russians refuse to open a corridor" to evacuate civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol towards Berdyansk.

"We're continuing the difficult negotiations for humanitarian corridors in the Kherson and Kharkiv regions", in the south and east respectively, she added.

9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia says struck 1,260 targets in Ukraine overnight

Russian missile and artillery forces struck 1,260 targets in Ukraine overnight, the Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday.

Russian anti-aircraft forces downed a Ukrainian MiG-29 jet in the Donetsk region, the ministry said.