Zelenskiy: Hell in Ukraine's Donbas

STORY: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the Donbas region to the southeast has been completely destroyed – as it has become the recent focus of the Russian offensive.

That’s as some of the world’s richest countries pledged billions to give Ukraine a boost. Moscow’s war effort has pulled back its forces from near the capital Kyiv, and moved artillery and armor to the east, which Zelenskiy says is piling on pressure.

“The armed forces of Ukraine continue advancing to liberate the Kharkiv region. But in Donbas, the occupiers are trying to exert even more pressure. It is a hell there. And it is not an exaggeration. Constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine, Donbas is completely destroyed. All this has no and cannot have any military explanation for Russia.”

Moscow calls its invasion a "special military operation" to rid Ukraine of fascists - an claim Kyiv and its Western allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.

Meanwhile – the U.S. Senate also recently approved $40 billion dollars in aid to Ukraine – by far the largest U.S. aid package since Russia invaded.

And – the Group of Seven wealthy nations have pledged to bolster Kyiv with $18.4 billion dollars.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters:

"The message was, 'We stand behind Ukraine. We're going to pull together with the resources that they need to get through this.'"

Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of using food as a weapon by holding "hostage" supplies for not just Ukrainians, but also millions around the world.

The war has caused global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer to soar.

The EU has said it is looking into ways of using the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine, while the US has not ruled out placing sanctions on countries that purchase Russian oil.