Library image of a Russian tank rumbling through terrain amid concerns of a Russian offensive in Donbas (Picture: Russian MOD).
Ukraine

Russia presses Donbas offensive as Polish leader visits Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation in the Donbas as "really hard".

Library image of a Russian tank rumbling through terrain amid concerns of a Russian offensive in Donbas (Picture: Russian MOD).

Russia has pushed its offensive in the eastern Donbas region as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the outcome of the conflict would determine whether his country's fate lay with the West or under Moscow's control.

Following its announcement that it has taken full control of the Mariupol Azovstal steel plant, the Russian military launched artillery and missile attacks in Ukraine's industrial heartland, seeking to expand the territory Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014.

In a Saturday night video address to the nation, Mr Zelensky described the situation in the Donbas as "really hard" but "the fact that we are able to say this on the 87th day of a full-scale war against Russia is good news".

"Every day that our defenders take away from these offensive plans of Russia, disrupting them, is a concrete contribution to the approach of the main day.

"The desired day that we are all looking forward to and fighting for: Victory Day," the president said.

Mr Zelensky's remarks came as Poland's president prepared to meet with him to support Ukraine's goal of becoming a candidate for European Union membership, an issue set to be decided at an EU summit in late June.

As the West rallies behind Ukraine, Polish president Andrzej Duda made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and on Sunday became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the war.

Russia appeared to have made slow grinding moves forward in the Donbas in recent days. It intensified efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the main city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province, which together with Donetsk province makes up the Donbas.