Ukrainian president announces assault but declares: ‘We will fight. We will not give up anything Ukrainian’

“Now we can already state that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time,” he said in a video address late on Monday night. Zelenskiy said a “significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive,” the Guardian reports.

He added: “No matter how many soldiers are driven there, we will defend ourselves. We will fight. We will not give up anything Ukrainian.”

The president’s comments follow a dramatic escalation of attacks by Russia ahead of the long-anticipated operation. Vladimir Putin has declared his intention to seize Donbas, the industrial heartland in the east of the country already partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

US president Joe Biden will on Tuesday hold a call with allies to discuss the Ukraine crisis, including on how to coordinate on holding Russia accountable, the White House said.

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