Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday, July 4, to continue their offensive in Ukraine. This comes after Russia claims victory as they took control of the entire Luhansk region after capturing the city of Lysychansk last July 3. The capture of Lysychansk was a significant victory for the Kremlin in the four months since they started their invasion of Ukraine. The city was the last Ukrainian hold out after weeks of long but slow advance on the Russian side.

After reporting their successful capture of the city of Lysychansk on Sunday, Putin told Shoigu, “Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans.” The Russian President hopes the “special military operation” continues in the same direction as in Luhansk.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s trying to recuperate. In a Telegram message, the Governor of Luhansk Serhiy Haidai announced, “The city is on fire.” This comes after reports that the Russian forces relentlessly bombarded the city of Lysychansk with their artillery in the hopes of blasting out the Ukrainians defending the city.

Assessed control of terrain in Ukraine and main Russian maneuver axes. [Source:]
In late June, the Russian forces took over Lysychansk’s neighboring city, Severodonetsk. With both towns under its control, Russia can easily position its troops to attack cities to the southwest. These cities include Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, and Bakhmut.

True enough, according to a report by BBC, the Russian bombardment of the neighboring cities in the Donetsk region has intensified, targeting Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. 

According to the city’s mayor, a heavy bombing in Sloviansk killed at least six people. The six casualties included a 10-year-old girl.

It is also important to remember that Kramatorsk is one of the last major cities in Donetsk under Ukrainian control. Therefore, if the city falls, it will significantly impact the Russian control over Donetsk.

With their successful capture, Russia is one step closer to its goal after diverting its focus on the “liberation” of the Donbas region after failing to capture Kyiv at the early onset of the invasion. This victory is also one of Russia’s biggest wins after capturing Mariupol. With Luhansk now in their hands, Moscow can now focus their attention on the capture of Donetsk.