As Russia presses its campaign in eastern Ukraine, 'ferocious' fighting rages.
On Saturday, "ferocious combat" raged in eastern Ukraine, all but putting an end to expectations of an Easter truce, as officials announced a new attempt to evacuate citizens from the war-torn city of Mariupol. On Sunday, the war will enter its third month, with civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the conflict.
Fighting with Russian soldiers raged on Saturday, according to authorities in two eastern Ukrainian districts, Kharkiv and Luhansk.
After "fierce engagements," Oleh Sinehubov, the governor of the eastern Kharkiv Region, announced on Telegram that Ukrainian forces retook three villages near the Russian border.
Russian military also attacked residential infrastructure, killing two people, according to Sinehubov. Shelling was going on "round the clock" in adjacent Luhansk, according to governor Serhiy Haidai. Individuals near the front should "evacuate if you get the chance," he said, adding that volunteers were assisting people leaving the area.
Since Russia's invasion in late February, about 5.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country of 37 million, according to the UN refugee agency.
The combat in Ukraine's east came a day after a senior Russian military general announced that "the second phase of the special operation" had begun, with the goal of seizing a large, strategic area of the country.