Russia says it holds all of Ukraine’s Luhansk with capture of last city

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that Moscow and its allies now controlled all of Ukraine’s Luhansk region after capturing the last major city, Lysychansk.

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

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

The Russian defence ministry said Shoigu had informed Putin of the “liberation” of the Luhansk region thanks to the capture of Lysychansk, once a major coal mining hub.