Ramzan Kadyrov’s Official Telegram channel via AP KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia’s defence minister said Russian forces took control Sunday of the last major Ukrainian-held city in Ukraine’s Luhansk province, bringing Moscow closer to its stated goal of seizing all of Ukraine’s Donbas region.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s troops together with members of a local separatist militia “have established full control over the city of Lysychansk,” a ministry statement said.
Taking Lysychansk constitutes “the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic,” one of two separatist regions in Ukraine that Russia recognizes as sovereign, the statement said.
Ukrainian fighters spent weeks trying to defend Lysychansk and to keep it from falling to Russia, as neighbouring Sievierodonetsk did a week ago. A presidential adviser predicted late Saturday that the city’s fate could be determined within days.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately provide an update on its status.
Earlier Sunday, Luhansk’s governor said Russian forces were strengthening their positions in a gruelling fight to capture the last stronghold of resistance in the province.
“The occupiers threw all their forces on Lysychansk. They attacked the city with incomprehensibly cruel tactics,” Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said on the Telegram messaging app. “They suffer significant losses, but stubbornly advance. They are gaining a foothold in the city.”
A river separates Lysychansk from Sievierodonetsk. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said during an online interview late Saturday that Russian forces had managed for the first time to cross the river from the north, creating a “threatening” situation.Arestovych said they had not reached the centre of the city but that the course of the fighting indicated the battle for Lysychansk would be decided by Monday.Luhansk and neighbouring Donetsk are the two provinces that make up the Donbas, where Russia has focused its offensive since pulling back from […]
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