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Ukraine round-up: Allies pledge weapons as Russia targets east

After announcing it would focus its efforts on eastern Ukraine, Russia intensified its assault on cities and towns throughout the region on Tuesday.

There were clashes along a front line spanning hundreds of miles, as the battle for the Donbas region entered a critical stage.

While this new offensive had been expected after Russia failed to seize the capital Kyiv, it could bear huge importance on how the war plays out.

That’s because, if Russia conquers the Donbas, it would allow President Vladimir Putin to claim some achievement from the invasion.

But Tuesday’s clashes showed that Ukraine’s forces are still able to hold firm, and the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky – in reference to the east – pledged to “not give up anything Ukrainian”.

Want to know more about why Russia is targeting the Donbas? You can read our explainer here.

And if you’re unsure about the geography of the region – this map illustrates where Russian troops have advanced so far.

Map showing east Ukraine
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Ukraine’s allies respond

The new Russian offensive in the east led to a swift response from Ukraine’s allies.

They vowed to send artillery, anti-tank and air defence aid to Kyiv during a 90-minute video call on Tuesday.

The virtual meeting included US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the leaders of France, Italy, Japan and Germany among others.

“The aim is to strengthen the Ukrainian military such that it can push back the Russian attack,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

As well as weapons, the leaders also agreed to impose further sanctions on Moscow.

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Children play inside a bunker in Severodonetsk, in eastern UkraineIMAGE SOURCE,AFP

Children’s lives transformed

With a surge in military action on Tuesday, and yet more pledges from world leaders, it can be easy to overlook the way this war has transformed lives in Ukraine.

But an entire generation of young people in the country are cut off from living a normal childhood as the conflict rages on.

The UN estimates that around two thirds of Ukraine’s 7.8 million children have been displaced.

Our correspondent Yogita Limaye spoke to the family of one child – Elisei Ryabukon – who was killed by Russian soldiers.

“The Russians gave us permission to leave. They even waved us goodbye and wished us luck,” his mother, Inna, said.

“Then when we were crossing a field, they started firing at us from every direction.”

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A separated family reunited

This war continues to take a major emotional toll on those abroad who are unable to connect with family and friends in Ukraine.

Ukrainian citizen Peter Chumak has lived in London for 22 years, but went back to Ukraine for family reasons shortly before Russia invaded.

Martial law was introduced minutes before Peter tried to cross the border into Poland and he was ordered to remain in Ukraine.

After seven weeks in his homeland, he has been allowed to return to the UK. You can watch the moment he was reunited with his family below.

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