According to the Russian Minister of Defense, Moscow’s forces have taken over the last significant Ukrainian-held city in the Luhansk Province of Ukraine.
According to Russian news agencies, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Federation’s defence minister, announced to President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that “the armed forces of the Russian Federation, together with units of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic, have established full control over the city of Lysychansk.”
In an effort to prevent Lysychansk from succumbing to Russia, like nearby Sievierodonetsk did a week ago, Ukrainian soldiers fought for weeks to preserve the city. Late on Saturday, a presidential adviser said that the city’s outcome might be known in a few days.
According to the region’s governor, Russian forces earlier fortified their positions in an exhausting battle to seize the final bastion of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk Province.
In an effort to prevent Lysychansk from succumbing to Russia like its neighbour Sievierodonetsk did a week ago, Ukrainian fighters have been defending the city for weeks. An advisor to the president projected that its outcome will be known in a matter of days.
“The occupying forces poured into Lysychansk. On the messaging service Telegram, Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, described how they invaded the city. “They experience tremendous setbacks but persist in moving forward. They are establishing themselves in the city.
Between Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk is a river. Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, claimed in a late-Saturday online interview that Russian forces had successfully crossed the river from the north for the first time, posing a “dangerous” situation.
Arestovych claimed that although they had not yet entered the city’s core, the progress of the conflict suggested that the war for Lysychansk would be won by Monday. In an effort to cross the Siverskyi Donets River and establish a bridgehead, Russia nearly lost an entire battalion, according to reports from Ukrainian and British officials in May.
Moscow’s stated objective of annexing the entire Donbas region of Ukraine would be closer to being accomplished if Lysychansk were to fall. Russia has concentrated its offensive there since it withdrew from northern Ukraine and the capital, Kiev, in the spring. The Donbas is made up of the two provinces of Luhansk and the nearby Donetsk.
Moscow acknowledges Luhansk and Donetsk as whole independent republics despite pro-Russian separatists controlling portions of both eastern provinces since 2014. On Wednesday, the Syrian government declared that it will also acknowledge the “independence and sovereignty” of the two regions.
The capture of Lysychansk would allow Russian forces to advance into the province’s western region, where the significant Ukrainian-held city of Slovyansk has been repeatedly attacked with rockets since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The exiled mayor of the city of Melitopol, which is seized by Russia, claimed on Sunday that one of the city’s four Russian military bases had been damaged by Ukrainian rockets elsewhere in the conflict.
The cities of Kursk and Belgorod were targeted by missile and drone assaults from Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, but the aircraft carrying the weapons were shot down. According to Roman Starovoit, the governor of the Kursk area, mortar fire was directed at Tetkino, a town near the Ukrainian border.
The head of Belarus, a Russian ally next door, stated on Saturday that few days ago, Ukraine fired missiles at military targets on Belarusian soil, but every one of them was shot down by an air defence system. The claimed strike, according to President Alexander Lukashenko, was a provocative act, and no Belarusian military were engaged in hostilities in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military made no quick comment.
Belarus is home to Russian military installations and served as an invasion staging area. Last week, just hours before Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin were scheduled to meet, Russian long-range bombers launched their first missiles into Ukraine from Belarusian airspace.
To now, Lukashenko has rejected attempts to involve his army in the conflict. But during their discussion, Putin revealed that Belarus would receive the Iskander-M missile system from Russia and reminded Lukashenko that his government relies on Russian financial assistance.