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Ukrainian troops occupy new positions as Putin praises Luhansk's victory

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Tom Balm Force and Max Hander

KYIV — Ukrainian troops take a new line of defense in the eastern part of the country on Monday to prepare for the next phase of the war, President Vladimir Putin Declared Russia's victory in the Luhansk battle over several months.

Russia occupied the city of Lysychans'k on Sunday, ending one of Europe's biggest battles for generations. For two months, Moscow put all of its ground forces into a small front-line pocket. It has completed Russia's conquest of Luhansk Oblast. Luhansk Oblast is one of two regions that Ukraine has requested to ceded to separatists in the Donbus region.

In a short video conference with the Defense Minister, Putin congratulated the Russian army on a "victory in the direction of Luhansk." Participants in the battle should "absolutely rest and regain military readiness," he said, with other units continuing to fight in other areas.

This battle is the closest to achieving one of the stated objectives since Moscow was defeated in March in an attempt to occupy Kyiv. Since occupying Mariupol's shipping in late May, it has won Russia's biggest victory.

Claimed to have caused thousands of deaths and injuries on both sides, but inflicted far greater losses on the other side along the loop of the Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk and Donetsk. did.

Relentless Russian bombardment struck Lysychans'k in the wasteland, the neighboring Sieviero Donetsk and the surrounding towns. Russia repeatedly failed to surround the Ukrainians and eventually chose to blow them up with cannons.

Military experts say that while the abandoned city itself has limited strategic value, combat can be a turning point in war and has a significant impact on both sides' combat capabilities. Said there is a possibility.

"I think it's a tactical victory for Russia, but it costs a lot," said Neil Melvin, a RUSI think tank in London. He compared the battle to the huge battle for the small territory that characterizes World War I.

"It took 60 days to make very slow progress," he said. "I think the Russians may declare some kind of victory, but the important war battles haven't come yet."

Moscow, withdrawal of Ukraine gives momentum to Russian troops Hope, Ukraine will push further west into the neighboring province of Donetsk, which still holds the cities of Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and Bakumut.


Ukraine may have been able to withdraw from Luhansk a few weeks ago, but chose to continue fighting to exhaust the invading forces. It hopes that fierce fighting will deplete the Russians too much to benefit elsewhere.

Ukraine's Governor of Luhansk Oblast, Serhiy Gaidai, admitted that his entire state was virtually in the hands of Russia, but told Reuters: But it hasn't lost the war.

Guydai has withdrawn from Lysychansik Ukrainian troops are now maintaining the border between Bakmut and Slovyansk, preparing to fend off further Russian progress. Said.

Mayor Slovyansk said the heavy bombardment on Sunday killed at least six people, including a 10-year-old girl.

Russia's Tas news agency said military officials in the Donetsk People's Republic said three civilians were killed and 27 were injured in the bombardment by Ukrainian troops.

Reuters could not verify your battlefield account.

US-based Foreign Policy Institute Rob Li said the new Ukrainian line of defense should be easier to defend than the abandoned Luhansk Oblast pocket.

"That's what Putin can show as a sign of success," he said. "But overall, this does not mean that Ukraine must make concessions or concessions immediately."

Russia, "special military operations" in Ukraine, It states that it aims to demilitarize its southern neighbors and protect the Russian language from what it calls nationalists.

Ukraine and its western allies have stated that this is an unfounded excuse for a violent attack aimed at occupying the territory.

At a meeting in Lugano, Switzerland, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the cost of rebuilding Ukraine could reach $ 750 billion and rich Russians help pay the bill Said you need to.

"Russian authorities have unleashed this bloody war. They have caused this massive destruction, and they have to take responsibility for it," Shmygal said. I did.


RUSI expert Melvin said Ukraine's decisive battle could take place in the south, not in the east, where Russia is launching its main attacks. Said it was expensive. Where Ukraine launched a counterattack to recapture its territory.

"This is where the Ukrainians are making progress around Kherson. From there the counterattack begins and let's launch a large counterattack to push the Russians back. I think it's most likely that you'll see the momentum towards Ukraine sway. "

The expectation for Ukraine's sustained counterattack is to receive additional weapons from the West, such as rockets that can neutralize Russia's huge firepower dominance by attacking deep in the front lines. It depends on a part.

Last week, Ukraine won its own big victory and expelled Russian troops from Snake Island. This was a desolate and strategic outcrop of the Black Sea that Moscow captured on the first day of the war, but could no longer defend against Ukrainian strikes.

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson said the best way to end the war is to increase support for Ukraine and increase pressure on Russia. In a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Anderson said he was "ready to accept further sanctions" against Russia, adding that Moscow should not be allowed to benefit from the Ukrainian invasion.

Sweden, along with its neighbor Finland, recently applied for NATO membership. Anderson said it could take a year for her country to become a full member of the alliance.

(Report by Reuters, written by Michael Perry, Peter Graf, Paul Shimao, edited by Simon Cameron Moore, Allison Williams,)