Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Russia captured dozens of small towns in its assault on the Donbas region, as Ukrainian officials described fierce fighting as continuing across Donetsk and Luhansk.

In recent weeks, Russia has refocused its war efforts from the north and center to the east after failing to reach the capital, Kyiv.

On Friday, Russia revealed for the first time that its goal is to take full “control” over southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region.

Major General Rustam Minnekaev, acting commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said Russian forces were fighting to establish a land corridor through Ukraine’s territory linking Russia with Crimea, the peninsula it annexed last year. 2014, according to TASS, a Russian state news agency reported. the firm.

“Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, which began two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian military has been to establish full control of the Donbas and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor for Crimea,” Minnekaev told TASS.

Olena Symonenko, an adviser to the Deputy President’s Office, said in a televised statement late on Thursday that in the last 24 hours, 42 other settlements have come under Russian control in the area. Donetsk region.

However, Britain’s Ministry of Defense on Saturday said Russian forces had made no major gains in the past 24 hours in the face of Ukraine’s counterattacks.

Ukraine’s air and sea defenses can also block the advance of Russian naval and air forces, the ministry added in a social media post.

Southern Ukraine: Russian forces currently control only a part of southern Ukraine, while the Ukrainian government still controls the key cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa and some Ukrainian forces are stationed in a steel mill in the besieged port. fin. Mariupol.

Despite their declared conquest of Mariupol, fierce fighting continued to frustrate Russia’s efforts to capture the city, thereby delaying the expected progress, the UK ministry said. their wishes in the Donbas”.

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