According to Hanna Malyar (Deputy Defence Minister), fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas is at “maximum intensity”. Russian troops are storming multiple Ukrainian positions simultaneously.

She warned of “an extremely challenging” stage in the war ahead and said that it was “unavoidable” for the Ukrainian side to suffer casualties. She ruled out any concessions by Kyiv.

Dmitry Peskov, the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, urged Ukraine to accept “realities in the ground”, referring to the territory that Moscow has taken since its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

The Kremlin indicated its willingness to assist in a growing food shortage, but only if Western sanctions against Russia are lifted.

These are the major developments of the last 24 hours.

Russian forces bombard eastern Ukraine’s cities and towns with the stated aim of “liberating” Donbas, the former industrial heartland.

Vladimir Putin, a Russian-speaking president, has abandoned his attempt to capture Kyiv and the second city Kharkiv. He now seeks military victory in the predominantly Russian-speaking east. There, he falsely accuses Ukraine for genocide.

The Russian president must achieve his Donbas goals before he can end the operation and declare it a success.

Large swathes in the south are already under Russian control.

The battle for Donbas in Ukraine is the largest on European soil since World War Two, but the president of Ukraine has declared that the military will fight for every inch of its land.