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Russian forces have captured the city of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine, causing Ukrainian troops to withdraw from the city. Kreminna, which once had a population of 18,000 before the war, appears to be the first city Russia has seized since it launched a new offensive Monday focusing on Ukraine’s Donbas region. The area includes two Russian-backed separatist cities, Luhansk and Donetsk, which have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Donbas is a heavily industrialized region and includes coal mines, metal plants, and machine-building factories. Gaining full control of the region could allow Russia to create a land bridge to Crimea, which it invaded and annexed in 2014. To do so, Russia would need to capture Mariupol—a southern port city that has been encircled by Russian forces.
Separately, missiles hit the city of Kharkiv and an explosion occurred in Kramatorsk. Both cities lie northwest of the Donbas region.
See updates on the conflict here.