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Russia claims ‘full control’ over Lysychansk after Zelensky adviser admits army ‘gaining foothold’

Russia claims ‘complete control’ over Lysychansk after Zelensky adviser admits Putin’s army ‘gaining foothold’ in Luhansk’s last stronghold

  • Crucial battle for Lysychansk ends in Russian victory: Ministry of Defense in Moscow
  • Defense Minister Shoigu informs Putin that the entire Luhansk region is now ‘liberated’
  • Ukrainian army had admitted Putin’s forces ‘gained a foothold’ in the city
  • News comes days after another major win in neighboring Severodonetsk

Russian forces and Moscow-backed separatists claimed “complete control” over Lysychansk, the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the eastern Luhansk region.

The apparent victory after a week of intense fighting means Russia now rules over the key Donbas region.

Moscow’s defense ministry claimed the battle of Lysychansk had ended this morning and said earlier today that it “surrounded the Ukrainian enemy” in the city.

It read: “Russian troops and units of the Luhansk People’s Republic fight in Lysychansk and completely defeat the encircled enemy.”

Lysychansk is next to Severodonetsk, which the Russian troops had captured days before.

A bombed car stands alone on a rubble-strewn road in Lysychansk, Luhansk region today

A bombed car stands alone on a rubble-strewn road in Lysychansk, Luhansk region today

Russia's claim suggests the eight-year battle for control of the Luhansk region is finally over

Russia’s claim suggests the eight-year battle for control of the Luhansk region is finally over

A Ukrainian army handout today shows a Russian-destroyed residential building in Lysychansk

A Ukrainian army handout today shows a Russian-destroyed residential building in Lysychansk

After a week of fighting, the Palace of Culture of Lysychansk is bombed and scarred by the battle

After a week of fighting, the Palace of Culture of Lysychansk is bombed and scarred by the battle

Before the announcement of Russia, Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai wrote to followers on the messaging app Telegram: “The occupiers threw all their troops at Lysychansk. They attacked the city with incomprehensibly cruel tactics

“They suffer significant losses, but are advancing stubbornly. They are gaining a foothold in the city.’

President Zelensky’s spokesman Oleksiy Arestovych also suggested the battle would likely be over by Monday.

A wrecked tank lies along the road between Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, Luhansk

A wrecked tank lies along the road between Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, Luhansk

Plumes of smoke were seen high over Lysychansk as Russia stepped up its troops days ago

Plumes of smoke were seen high over Lysychansk as Russia stepped up its troops days ago

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that he had told President Putin that all of Luhansk was now “liberated” from Ukrainian troops.

The Russian Defense Ministry added that it had hit military infrastructure in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, as well as a base used by foreign fighters on the outskirts of Mykolaiv in the south of the country.

Ukraine appeared to retaliate overnight with a brief but fierce attack on the Russian city of Belgorod, killing at least three people.

A man sits next to piles of war damage outside his apartment building in Severodonetsk

A man sits next to piles of war damage outside his apartment building in Severodonetsk

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed that several explosions hit the city of nearly 400,000, which is located 40 kilometers north of the border with Ukraine.

At least 11 apartment buildings and 39 houses were damaged, including five completely destroyed, Gladkov said via messaging app Telegram.

“The noise was so strong that I jumped up, woke up, got really scared and started screaming,” a resident of the city told Reuters.

They added that the blast happened around 3 a.m. (midnight GMT).

Belgorod, Southern Russia was the scene of an apparent Ukrainian airstrike late last night

Belgorod, Southern Russia was the scene of an apparent Ukrainian airstrike late last night

“The missile hit residential buildings about 20 meters from my house,” the resident said.

“All the windows in our house were smashed, the doors were crooked.”

High-ranking Russian lawmaker Andrei Klishas accused Ukraine of shelling Belgorod and called for a stern response.

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