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Russia claims control of pivotal eastern Ukrainian city

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 1:49 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-03 14:25:30-04

Russia has claimed control 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 Ukraine's General Staff of the military reported that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk in Luhansk province, but the president said the fight for the city was ongoing.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.

A Russian statement characterized the victories as “the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic.” Separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk, which make up the Donbas and have significant Russian-speaking populations, declared independence from Kyiv in 2014, and Russia formally recognized their self-proclaimed republics days before its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, as the Associated Press reported.