Sloviansk residents calm, have faith in Ukraine army

STORY: Some said they would not leave their homes, as air raid sirens echoed in streets.

Ivan, who owns a local coffee shop, said he had faith in the Ukrainian army.

"We believe in our army and our victory, and that the combat operations won’t reach Sloviansk. And we are confident of that. We want Sloviansk to remain peaceful without bombardments, without air raids. We will see if it is ever possible," he said.

Ukrainian officials insisted their troops would withstand the new assault, which they said began overnight with massive Russian artillery and rocket barrages and attempts to advance across almost the entire stretch of the eastern front.

Moscow gave few details about its new campaign, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that "another stage of this operation is beginning."

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