Lrussia is advancing, in any case, she assures us. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Sunday July 3 that Kremlin forces controlled the entire Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine after capturing the key city of Lysytchansk, at the heart of intense fighting. “Sergei Shoigu informed the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, of the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic,” said a Defense Ministry statement quoted by Russian news agencies. Russian forces and their separatist allies have taken “other nearby towns, the most notable of which are Belogorovka, Novodrujesk, Maloriazantsevo and Belaya Gora,” the statement added. Agence France-Presse was unable to verify this information from an independent source.
Earlier in the day, a series of “strong explosions” killed at least three people in the Russian city of Belgorod, the governor of this region bordering Ukraine and already hit by gunfire said on Sunday. On Telegram, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the explosions took place very early on Sunday and that 11 residential buildings and 39 houses were damaged. “The circumstances of the incident are being established, obviously the anti-aircraft defenses have been activated,” he said, without further details.
The governor said he went very quickly to the five streets affected by the explosions, located in the north of Belgorod, not far from the city center. According to him, two injured people, a man and a child, were hospitalized, the other two treated on the spot. Since the start of the Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine on February 24, Russia has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out strikes on Russian soil, particularly in the Belgorod region. In early April, Governor Gladkov accused Ukraine of attacking a fuel depot in Belgorod with two helicopters. For his part, the spokesman for the Russian Minister of Defense accused kyiv of being behind the strike. “Russian air defenses shot down the three Tochka-U cluster missiles launched by Ukrainian nationalists against Belgorod. After the destruction of Ukrainian missiles, the debris of one of them fell on a house, ”said Igor Konashenkov.
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kyiv strikes a city controlled by Russia
The Ukrainian army “decommissioned” overnight from Saturday to Sunday a Russian military base in Melitopol, a city in southern Ukraine controlled by Moscow forces, announced its mayor in exile. “Today the Ukrainian military forces decommissioned one of the Russian military bases” in the city, Ivan Fedorov said in a video posted on Telegram messaging.
“At 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., 30 strikes targeted the military base exclusively,” he added, adding that “the city of Melitopol is covered in smoke” and that “it has been going on for several hours, because a depot of fuel that was on the base is burning”. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian general staff had announced on Sunday morning that the Ukrainian air force had carried out about fifteen sorties, in particular in the region of Zaporijia to which Melitopol belongs, and “that about twenty equipment units enemy and two ammunition depots” had been destroyed.
Lyssytchansk soon under the Russian flag?
Moscow-backed separatists, quoted by the TASS news agency, have previously claimed the city was “totally surrounded”. Lysytchansk is the last major city not in Russian hands in the Luhansk region, one of the two Donbass provinces and “the epicenter of the fighting”, in the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday evening. The city, which had nearly 100,000 inhabitants before the war, is twin to that of Sievierodonetsk, conquered last week by Moscow after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces after several weeks of battle. The two towns are separated by the Donets, the main tributary of the Don.
The capture of Lyssytchansk would allow the Russian army to advance towards Sloviansk, about sixty kilometers to the west, already under fire from Russian artillery, and Kramatorsk, another large city in the Donbass, whose inhabitants bear the daily noise of bombardments and warning sirens. On Saturday morning, the Ukrainian general staff had claimed to have repelled a Russian offensive a few kilometers west of Lysytchansk, while the day before Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the situation remained “extremely difficult” on the spot for the forces. Ukrainians.
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