Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk had fallen to Russian and Russian-backed separatist forces, Reuters and CNN report.
Lysychansk — along with its sister city of Sievierodonetsk, which Russia captured about a week ago — represented the last bastion of Ukrainian-controlled territory in Luhansk Oblast.
Ukrainian regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Russia appeared to have "deployed all their forces at Lysychansk" and "attacked the city with inexplicably brutal tactics."
After failing to capture the capital city of Kyiv in the early months of the war, Russia redirected its focus to capturing the eastern oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk, both of which have been partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Russian forces now control virtually all of Luhansk and about half of Donetsk.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War assessed Friday that, following the capture of Lysychansk, Russian forces will likely consolidate their control over Luhansk and "then prioritize drives on Ukrainian positions in Siversk before turning to Slovyansk and Bakhmut."