Russia says its troops have encircled Ukrainian city of Lysychansk


FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises over the remains of a building destroyed by a military strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine June 17, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak/File Photo

(Reuters) - Russian troops have encircled the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, Ukraine's last major stronghold in the Luhansk region, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.

Russia has focussed on driving Ukrainian forces out of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv since Russia's first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014.

The defence ministry said its troops had captured the villages surrounding Lysychansk, encircling the area, and were now fighting Ukrainian troops inside the town.

"Russian troops and units of the Luhansk People's Republic are fighting inside Lysychansk, completely defeating the encircled enemy," the ministry said in a statement.

Calls to the Ukrainian General Staff and Defence Ministry went unanswered. The ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The Russian defence ministry added that it had struck military infrastructure in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, as well as a base used by foreign fighters on the outskirts of Mykolaiv in the country's south.

(Reporting by Reuters)

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