Russia and Ukraine forces battled on Tuesday, Apr. 19, along the eastern front line with the battle to secure Donbas starting according to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to Ukraine security official, Oleksiy Danilov, Russia started to try and break the Ukrainian defensive positions throughout Ukraine’s east, BBC reported.

The move comes not long after Russia failed to take control of Kyiv. Moscow announced that it has realigned its focus on the eastern part of Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.

Luhansk is one of the most fiercely contested regions and Governor Serhiy Hayday said it had come under attack from all sides.

After fierce fighting erupted in Kreminna, Ukrainian soldiers were forced to withdraw and regroup, allowing Russian troops to seize control of the eastern city.

"They moved in but our defenders had to retreat," Hayday said. "The enemy was shelling every meter of our defense line."

Aside from this, the port of Mariupol has also come under intense bombardment. Russian forces have reportedly begun an attempt to storm the city's Azovstal steelworks, where Mariupol's final defenders have been holding out for days.

However, Ukraine claims that civilians, including children, are among those in the complex. Pro-Russian officials have disputed this claim.

Also over in Kharkiv, three people were reportedly killed while 21 were injured in a new wave of attacks in the city.

"The intensity of the shelling of Kharkiv has increased," the regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said in a post on Telegram.

After facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces, Russian officials said that its main objectives in the "first stage of the operation" had been "generally accomplished" and its forces were moved from areas around the capital.

They claim that forces struck more than 1,200 targets in Ukraine on Monday night, including 25 military command posts in Mykolayiv and Kirovsk as well as two weapon depots in east Ukraine.

"A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive," he added but said that Ukraine's forces will fight on "no matter how many Russian troops are driven there, we will fight," Zelensky stated.

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Anti-fascists of Socialist Homeland take part in a parade dedicated to the anti-fascists who fought the neo-Nazi Brigades in Donbass and in remembrance of the struggle for liberation from Nazi-fascismin Italy to San Lorenzo neighbourhood on April 16, 2022 in Rome, Italy. Getty Images | Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Corbis

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