Russia claimed on Sunday it had overwhelmed the last major city in Ukraine’s Luhansk province as it continued its assault on the eastern Donbass region.
The Russian military and the self-proclaimed LPR militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic “have established full control over Lysychansk and a number of nearby settlements”, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Yuriy Sak, however, told the BBC that the town of Lysychansk was not under the “full control” of Russian forces. But he acknowledged that the Russians were attacking the city non-stop and that “sometimes we can withdraw from certain areas so that we can retake them in the future”.
Lysychansk’s misery comes a week after sister city Sievierodonetsk fell under full Russian control following a brutal week-long struggle. Completing the invasion of Luhansk would allow Russia to turn its attention to Donetsk, the other province in the industrial region of Donbass.
Russia also already controls more than half of Donetsk.
►Fear that Russia will cut natural gas, Germany’s top energy official has urged homeowners to have gas boilers and radiators tuned to maximize efficiency. Federal Network Agency Chairman Klaus Mueller said families should decide “whether each room should be set to its usual temperature” this winter.
►Fires were burning in the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk after Russian shelling killed at least six people and injured several others, Mayor Vadim Lyakh said.
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British say Russia risks rigging vote in Kherson
Russian-backed officials who say they will hold a referendum on Kherson province joining the Russian Federation by fall are likely to prioritize a ‘pseudo-constitutional vote’ to legitimize its control region, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a published war assessment. Sunday. Kherson is in southern Ukraine, just above Crimea, which Russia invaded and illegally annexed in 2014.
“Finding a constitutional solution to the occupation is probably a priority political goal for Russia,” the assessment said. “He will most likely be willing to rig the vote to get an acceptable result.”