Russia is no longer in “full control” of Luhansk’s eastern Donbass territory as Ukrainians have recaptured a village near the eastern city of Lysyhansk in what is being hailed as a “symbolic” if not major victory. The capture of the two breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main goals in the military invasion.
Moscow declared victory in Luhansk after capturing Lysychansk in July
Moscow and its allies had said their forces were in complete control of the entire Lugansk region of Ukraine after capturing the last major city, Lysychansk, in July. However, Lugansk Governor Serhiy Haidai told Telegram on Monday that Ukrainian forces were now “completely under control” of Bilohorivka and were moving deeper in a rather fierce counter-offensive.
“It is a suburb of Lysychansk. Soon we will drive away these s***ba*s with a broom,” said the head of the military-civilian administration of the Lugansk region. “Step by step, inch by inch, we will rid our entire country of the invaders.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said in July that its troops had taken the villages around Lysychansk and encircled the area. Credit: AP
In video footage shared on Telegram, Ukrainian soldiers were seen patrolling the streets of Bilohorivka, previously occupied by the invading Russian troops. The Luhansk city has been under Russian control for the past two-and-a-half months, but the Ukrainians have ramped up their counteroffensive in recent weeks and plan to retake Lysychansk, once a key coal-mining center. Russian forces with units of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic had gained full control of the city of Lysychansk two months ago, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Russian forces had also captured Lysychansk’s sister city, Sievierodonetsk.
People salvage some of their belongings from a building damaged in a Russian missile attack in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
As hostilities intensified, Russian troops shelled the city of Kupyansk heavily from their new defensive positions east of the Oskil River. Up to 200 Russian soldiers died when Ukrainians staged a strike at a bus shelter in the frontline town of Svatove, where Russian troops were based. Governor Haidai explained in a Telegram post that the leaders of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic panicked when the Ukrainians invaded.