Putin orders Russians to fight on after key Ukraine city falls
July 05 2022 12:28 AM
Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing instructions to
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow y
Russian President Vladimir Putin issuing instructions to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow yesterday. (Reuters)

AFP/ Sloviansk (Ukraine)

President Vladimir Putin yesterday ordered Russian troops to press their offensive deeper into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after Moscow’s forces seized the strategic city of Lysychansk.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin at a meeting that Moscow’s forces were now in full control of the Lugansk region.
In a sign there would be no let-up in the fighting and that Russia now had its eyes on the entire Donetsk region, Putin told Shoigu that troops stationed there must continue their operations.
“Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans,” Putin said.
“I hope that everything will continue in their direction as has happened in Lugansk so far.”
The Ukrainian army said on Sunday it was retreating from Lysychansk to preserve the lives of its troops who were outnumbered and outgunned by Russian forces.
Moscow’s capture of Lysychansk — one week after the Ukrainian army also retreated from the neighbouring city of Severodonetsk — frees up Russian forces to advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in Donetsk.
Lugansk region governor Sergiy Gayday said on Telegram that there was still fighting in the town of Bilogorivka outside Lysychansk.
“We keep defending a small part of the Lugansk region so that our army could build protective redoubts,” he added.
In Sloviansk, about 75km west of Lysychansk, there were few people on the streets yesterday, the day after Russian strikes that left at least six dead, among them a nine-year-old girl, and 19 injured.
In the large downtown market largely ravaged by a fire caused by a Russian strike, a few vendors offered basic goods while others cleared charred debris.
Vendors and residents who spoke to AFP, some still in shock, expressed concern for the days and weeks to come, as sounds of shelling were heard again. The city of Siversk, 30km west of Lysychansk, also saw overnight shelling, residents and an official told AFP.

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