After more than four months of war, Russian troops are still advancing in eastern Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin on Sunday that the former city of Lyssychansk had now also been taken. With that, Russia would have captured the last Ukrainian bastion in the Luhansk region.
Kyiv denied that Lysychansk had fallen, but admitted difficulties. The reports from the combat zones can hardly be checked independently. An international conference begins this Monday in Switzerland, which is said to be about the reconstruction of Ukraine.
If the Russian claims are confirmed, it would be an important achievement for Putin. In the past few days, Lysychansk was the last major place that Ukrainian troops were still holding in the Luhansk region. Its conquest is one of the war goals named by Russia.
In the last week of June, the Ukrainian military had to give up the city of Sievjerodonetsk, which is only separated from Lysychank by a river. Before the war that Russia started at the end of February, around 380,000 people lived in the metropolitan area.
The statement by the Russian defense minister said: “Successful combat operations by the Russian armed forces together with the units of the Luhansk People’s Republic have established complete control over the city of Lysychansk and a number of nearby towns.”