On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his military and pro-Russian militias for his victory in Lugansk, where the day before they took control of Lisichansk, the last Ukrainian stronghold in that region.
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"The units that took an active part in the fighting and achieved successes in the Luhansk direction should certainly rest to increase their fighting ability," Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
After asking Shoigu to present the list of those who distinguished themselves in the combats in order to decorate them, the Russian president stressed that the West and East troop groups must fulfill their tasks according to the established plans.
"And I am confident that in the other directions the same thing will happen as has happened in the Lugansk direction so far," Putin said to emphasize what he expects of his troops.
The tweet reads, "'We were expecting you. Did they leave?' said the woman in tears. 'They have already left,' the soldiers aswered. 'They' means the Ukrainian nazis. This is how the inhabitants of Lisichansk meet the liberating soldiers. This town waited eight years to be liberated."
Over the weekend, Russian troops took control of Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, and 22 other towns in Lugansk. During these battles, they caused 2,221 deaths in the Ukrainian army, which also lost 196 tanks and other armor, 12 planes, one helicopter, and 69 drones.
Throughout Sunday, however, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry kept denying reports that Lysychansk has been under the full control of Russians. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with visiting Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss security cooperation.
During the talks, Zelensky informed Albanese of the situation on the frontline in Ukraine, while the Australian prime minister announced more military-technical assistance to Zelensky.