Russia’s defense minister reports to Putin that a strategic war goal has been achieved: According to this, Russian troops have completely taken over the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine.

According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia has taken the former city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine.

According to a report by the Interfax agency, Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that they now have complete control over the Luhansk region. There was initially no confirmation from the Ukrainian side. Reports from the combat zones can hardly be checked independently. More than 100,000 people used to live in Lysychansk. The neighboring city of Sievjerodonetsk had already been conquered by Russia.

“Successful combat operations of the Russian armed forces together with the units of the Luhansk People’s Republic established complete control over the city of Lysychansk and a number of nearby towns,” Interfax said in the minister’s statement. Within a day, their own troops would have conquered 182 square kilometers in the region.

No confirmation from Kyiv yet

The alleged conquest was initially not confirmed by the Ukrainian side. The general staff in Kyiv had only announced in the morning that Russian troops were in the city and were trying to expand their positions.

Lysychansk is part of the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk conurbation, which has been the subject of months of fighting. Before the war, a total of 380,000 people lived in the conurbation. Lysychansk is important strategically, but also symbolically. The city was an important industrial center, including for oil processing.

With their fall, Ukraine would have lost the last major city in the Luhansk region. The conquest of the area had been declared by the Russian side as an important war aim from the start. The Russian war of aggression against the neighboring country has now lasted more than four months.