Russia claims control of pivotal eastern Ukrainian city
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia claimed control Sunday over the last Ukrainian stronghold in an eastern province that is key to achieving a major goal of its grinding war.
Ukraine’s General Staff of the military reported that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk in Luhansk province, but the president said the fight for the city was ongoing.
If confirmed, Russia’s complete seizure of Luhansk would provide its forces a stronger base from which to press their advance in neighboring Donetsk province and bring them one step closer to achieving one of President Vladimir Putin’s major goals: capturing the entire Donbas.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that Russia’s troops, with members of a local separatist militia, “have established full control over the city of Lysychansk” and now hold all of Luhansk, according to a ministry statement published Sunday.