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Russian forces have taken control of two other settlements near the strategic town of Lysychansk in their offensive to capture the rest of the Luhansk region, according to Ukrainian officials.

Shrinking territory: It appears that the pocket of territory defended by Ukrainian forces where the Luhansk and Donetsk regions meet has further shrunk as Russian attacks persist from three sides.

Since yesterday, Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka have been occupied by the enemy,” Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region’s military administration, said Thursday.

Both villages lie southwest of Lysychansk and are less than 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the main highway connecting Lysychansk to the west.

Russian Offensive: In its operational update on Thursday, the General Staff indicated that the Russian priority was now to seize the highway.

The Russians were “trying to seize commanding heights in the Berestove area in order to establish control of the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway” and had brought in an additional tactical battalion group,” he said.

In the neighboring city of Severodonetsk: Hayday said Ukraine continued to “deter Russians” but “occupiers were destroying industrial facilities.”

“The Russian army is ‘liberating’ Severodonetsk from life and jobs,” he said.

Missiles and shells: Lysychansk was shelled repeatedly on Wednesday, and several settlements around the two towns came under airstrikes and missiles, Hayday said. Despite the shelling, some civilians were evacuated from Lysychansk and humanitarian supplies were brought to the city.

Aim for total control: The Ukrainian army said on Thursday that “the enemy is concentrating its main efforts on establishing full control over the city of Severodonetsk, conducting offensive operations to encircle our troops near the city of Lysychansk and blocking main logistics routes.

He said the Russians were also preparing to build a bridge over the Silverskiy Donets River.


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