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Russia claims control of major cities to intensify its attacks on eastern Ukraine

Ukraineseemed to be on the verge of losing a major eastern city on Sunday, which would be a major setback in the fight against the Russian invasion. 

Defense Minister Sergei Shoig told PresidentVladimir Putin, according to a statement ofLysychanskand the surrounding area are now under Moscow control.The Russian Defense Ministry posted on the Telegram channel on Sunday. 

In a previous statement, the ministry stated that its troops surrounded the city, Ukraine's last fort in Luhansk. Russian troops were fighting in the city, it said, and added that a Ukrainian delegation was trapped. 

Lysychansk's capture brought a great victory to Kremlin in the east after a series of military setbacks early in the invasion, establishing an army to move further into the Donetsk region. did. Luhansk constitutes an industrial area known asDonbus

After Putin's troops were forced to withdraw from the northern region around Kive, the capital of Ukraine, this region became an important focus for Putin. 

There was no immediate response from Ukrainian authorities to Russia's allegations of taking Lysychansk. NBC News is seeking comment from the Ukrainian Department of Defense.   

But early on Sunday, Serhiy Gaidai, regional governor of Luhansk, said in a telegram postthat Russians have settled in the Lisichansk region. Said. 

"The city is on fire," he said, adding that the Russians were attacking the city with "mysterious and brutal tactics." 

He said Moscow had thrown what appeared to be all the troops at Lysichansk. 

NBC News was unable to independently validate the battlefield report. 

However, the Institute, a U.S.-based military think tank, said on Saturday that Ukrainian troops may have deliberately withdrawn from Lisichansk and Russia may have seized the city. .. ..

The damaged residential building was provided by the military administration in the Luhansk region at the beginning of Sunday in this photo. It can be seen in Rishi Chancek. AP

On Sunday morning update, Ukrainian troops said Russians would "secure their position in the city." We are concentrating our main efforts "and the surrounding area. But it didn't say the city was hijacked. 

If the Russian army seized Lisichansk, it would take just over a week after occupying the twin citySievierodnetskafter several weeks of fierce street battles. was.

Elsewhere, at least four people were killed in a series of blasts in the Russian city of Bergorodo, the regional governor said on Sunday.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said in aTelegram postthat 11 apartments and nearly 40 private homes were damaged. He added that three Ukrainian citizens were among the dead.  

Later, the Russian Defense Ministry accusedUkraine of attacking the city with ballistic missiles. The attack was "intentionally planned and carried out against the general public," he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine to Russia's allegations, but NBC News was unable to independently verify the report.  

However, Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiiff of attacks on Bergorodo and other border cities, which are close to 400,000 cities located about 25 miles north of the Ukrainian border. ing.

Ukraine has never officially claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Meanwhile, Ivan Fedrov, the exiled mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol,posted a telegramon Sunday in the area of ​​Ukrainian troops.    

The head of the Russian-established council in the Zaporizhzhia regionconfirmed the strike of, but no one was killed. Stated. 

Despite being abused in the east, Ukrainian troops have made some progress elsewhere. For example, withdraw Russiafrom Snake Island, the main Black Sea outpost base southeast of the port city. Odesa captured by Moscow at the beginning of the war.

Russia used Snake Island to block Ukraine, one of the world's largest grain exporters and a major producer of vegetable oil seeds. The turmoil has helped fuel soaring global grain and food prices.

Moscow denied that it was blocking the port of Ukraine and instead accused Kib of not digging up the water.