Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that Russian and separatist forces had “liberated” Ukraine’s Luhansk region.
The TASS news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the Russian forces and their separatist allies in eastern Ukraine had completely taken control of the city of Lysychansk, Ukraine’s last major stronghold in the Luhansk region.
The ministry said mentioned on Sunday that Moscow forces had surrounded Lysychansk and were now fighting inside the city.
After failing to seize Kyiv, Moscow focused on driving Ukrainian forces out of the Donbas provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv since Russia’s first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014.
It is noteworthy that since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Western countries, led by the US, have sent billions of dollars in weapons and ammunition to support the Ukrainian forces against the Russian army, in a move that Moscow considered aimed at inflaming and prolonging the conflict.
The Russian president confirmed that Russia does not plan to occupy Ukrainian territory and that the goal of the operation is to protect people who, for eight years, have been subjected to persecution and genocide by the Kyiv regime.