The most severe ground fighting in Ukraine’s war against Russia has shifted east, with the most intense combat now centered in the country’s Kharkiv, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors, official statements and news reports on Monday said.

Serhiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk region defense command, said that Russian Federation (RF) forces shelled the towns Severodonetsk and Rubezhnoe overnight. RF forces attempted five “massed attacks” in Luhansk region on Sunday, he said.

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UAF forces turned back the assaults, burning RF tanks, armored personnel carriers and trucks, he said. A Monday morning, March 28, statement from the Army General Staff (AGS) credited Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) units in Luhansk sector with the destruction of two RF tanks, an armored personnel carrier, and a truck.
The important road intersection city Izium has become a focus for much of the fighting. According to Ukraine Army statements, on Sunday UAF units captured three villages controlling roads leading to Izium: Topolske (to the southwest), as well as Sukha Kamianka and Kamian’ka (both the south-east). Fighting was continuing, the statement said.

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The AGS also reported multiple RF attacks on UAF defenses holding the perimeter of the surrounded city Mariupol, crediting units there with the elimination of 150 RF soldiers, two tanks, and eight armored personnel carriers.

Mariupol’s defenses, now locked in the fourth week of a siege by RF forces, are held by a combined force drawn from the UAF 36 Marine Brigade, the Azov National Guard Regiment and local police.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a Sunday evening interview with independent RF media said that in past weeks he offered UAF forces holding Mariupol the option of surrendering or attempting to escape the encirclement. He said they refused, preferring to defend the city to the last.

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