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Lysychansk falls as Ukraine's military says its troops were forced to withdraw from city

Sky News logo Sky News 03/07/2022

The city of Lysychansk has fallen to Russian forces as Ukraine's military command confirmed that its troops have been forced to withdraw.

The scene in Lysychansk late last month. File pic © Reuters The scene in Lysychansk late last month. File pic

It had been Ukraine's last bastion in the eastern province of Luhansk and the subject of fierce fighting in recent days.

"The continuation of the defence of the city would lead to fatal consequences," Ukraine's military said on Sunday.

"In order to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders, a decision was made to withdraw."

The confirmation from defence forces comes after Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that the city has been "liberated" and that Moscow is in "full control" earlier in the day.

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Russian media showed footage of Luhansk militia fighters marching in the streets, waving flags and cheering.

It comes just days after Russian troops took Lysychansk's sister city Severodonetsk, on the opposite side of the Siverskyi Donets river.

Russia's complete seizure of the Luhansk region provides its troops with a stronger base to press their advance in the Donbas, a region of mines and factories that President Vladimir Putin is bent on capturing in a campaign that could determine the course of the entire war.

Other developments:


Video: Ukraine determined to hold Lysychansk after Severodonetsk withdrawal (Sky News Australia)

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• In his nightly address, Mr Zelenskyy praised those defending Ukraine and called for the truth about the war to be spread

• Eight Ukrainian city and village leaders are being held captive in Russia, according to The Association of Cities of Ukraine

• Ukrainian forces have repelled Russian advances in Novomykhailivka, Bohorodychne, and Ivanivka

• A Russian mine detonated, killing one civilian and injuring another in the Odesa region

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, previously said that Russian soldiers had crossed the river and were coming towards Lysychansk from the north.

But Mr Arestovych also said that if Russia takes Lysychansk, it will find its forces spread very thinly, as it tries to keep control of the six major cities it has taken in the Donbas, a region made up of Luhansk and neighbouring Donetsk.

He added: "The more Western weapons come to the front, the more the picture changes in favour of Ukraine."

Meanwhile, Russia said it had hit army command posts in Mykolaiv, near the Black sea port of Odesa, where powerful explosions were also reported.

At least three people were killed in Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, in the early hours of Sunday.

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Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, said that at least 11 apartment buildings and 39 houses were damaged.

Ukraine has not commented on the reports.

It comes after a Russian attack on an apartment block near Odesa on Friday, which killed at least 21 people, and on a shopping centre in the central city of Kremenchuk on Monday, which killed at least 19.

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