Russia and Ukraine battle for Donbas

Russia says it's entering a new phase of war, focused on capturing Ukraine's Donbas. We look at the military forces, strategies, tactics, weapons and where the war is headed.

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Local civilians walk past a tank destroyed during heavy fighting in Mariupol

Local civilians walk past a tank destroyed during heavy fighting in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Taking Mariupol would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and complete a land bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, seized from Ukraine from 2014. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

Russia says it is embarking on a new, more strategic phase of its war against Ukraine after almost eight weeks of attacks. Putin’s aim now is to capture Donbas, a region in the eastern part of the country. An intensive assault has begun in the east with more advanced, long-range weapons that have battered Mariupol to the ground, and the Azovstal steel plant appears to be the lone standing stronghold. As the assault continues, the US and others partner countries are sending new weapons packages to Ukraine, but to what aim?

Today, we discuss the Russian and Ukrainian military forces and the battle for Donbas. We’ll look at the battlefronts, tactics, and weapons each side is using and where the war is headed. Our guests are MALCOLM NANCE, former military intelligence analyst and former senior chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy who recently joined a foreign fighters legion in Ukraine, DMITRY GORENBURG, a Russian military senior researcher with CNA, and MATT GALLAGHER, a former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran, who was recently in Ukraine training volunteer Ukrainian civilians.

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Reuters, Russia sets new Mariupol ultimatum in ‘Battle of Donbas’ as West pledges more help – Thousands of Russian troops backed by artillery and rocket barrages were advancing in what Ukrainian officials called the Battle of the Donbas.

Esquire, Notes from Lviv – For two weeks in March, at an abandoned chemical warehouse in Lviv, we taught civilian volunteers how to defend themselves against the Russian invaders.

Washington Post, Ex-MSNBC analyst joins Ukrainian forces against Russia: ‘I’m done talking’ – Speaking from a secure location in Lviv, Nance said he was fighting for Ukraine after friends in the Ukrainian army told him they were overwhelmed by Russia’s assault, with some saying, “We’re not going to survive tonight.”

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