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Russia claims full control of Ukraine's Luhansk with capture of last city

  • 3 Jul 2022

There was no immediate response from Ukraine on the Russian claim, which, if confirmed, would mark a significant milestone for Moscow since its military operations began in February.

The Russian defence ministry says its troops have captured the villages surrounding Lysychansk, encircling the area. ( AP )

Russia has said that Moscow and its allies now controlled all of Ukraine's Luhansk region after capturing the last major city, Lysychansk.

The Russian defence ministry said on Sunday that Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu had informed President Vladimir Putin of the "liberation" of the Luhansk region thanks to the capture of Lysychansk, once a major coal mining hub.

"As Army General Sergei Shoigu reported [to Putin], following successful military operations, the Russian armed forces, together with units from the people's militia of the Luhansk People's Republic, gained full control over the city of Lysychansk," the ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine on the Russian claim, which, if confirmed, would mark a significant milestone for Moscow on 130th day of the conflict.

READ MORE: Pro-Russia rebels claim key city encircled, Ukraine denies

Fierce fighting

The Russian defence ministry had said earlier on Sunday that its troops had captured the villages surrounding Lysychansk, encircling the area, and were fighting inside the city.

The Russian defence ministry added that it had struck military infrastructure in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, as well as a base used by foreign fighters on the outskirts of Mykolaiv in the country's south.

Russian forces seized Lysychansk's sister city Sievierodonetsk last month, after some of the heaviest fighting seen since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

After being repelled in its initial attempt to capture the capital Kiev, Russia has focused on driving Ukrainian forces out of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kiev since Russia's first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014.

READ MORE: Deadly missile attacks rock Ukraine's Odessa region

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