On June 17, 2022, in Lysychans’k, the Luhansk region of Ukraine, smoke rises above the wreckage of buildings destroyed by military attacks as Russia continues to attack Ukraine. (Oleksandr Ratushniak / Reuters)
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that Moscow and its allies have taken control of the entire Luhansk region of Ukraine after occupying the last major city, Lysychans’k.
There was no immediate response from Ukraine to Russia’s allegations. Once confirmed, it will be an important milestone for Moscow on the 130th day of the war.
After withdrawing from northern Ukraine and the capital Kyiv in the spring, Russia has fought from eastern Luhansk and the Donetsk region, where Moscow-backed separatists have fought Kyiv since Russia’s first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014. Focused on expelling Ukrainian troops.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu had informed Putin of the “liberation” of the Luhansk region thanks to the capture of Lysychans’k, which was once the main coal mining hub.
“As reported by Army General Sergei Shoigu [to Putin]After a successful military operation, Russian troops, along with troops from the Luhansk People’s Republic’s militia, came to take full control of the city of Lysychansik, “the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said on Sunday that its troops occupied the village around Lysychans’k, surrounded the area and fought in the city.
Calls to the Ukrainian General Staff and the Ministry of Defense were unanswered. The ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comments sent by email.
The Russian Defense Ministry added that it attacked the military infrastructure of the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine and a base used by foreign fighters on the outskirts of Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine.
Russian troops seized Lysychans’k sister city Sieviero Donetsk last month after some of the most fierce battles seen since Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.