According to the message, Shoigu claims Moscow is now in “full control” of Lysychansk – the last contested major city in the region.
In an interview with the BBC, Ukrainian Interior Ministry Adviser Yuriy Sak denied the Russian claim, and said that Lysychansk is not under “full Russian control,” adding that the situation in the city “is very tense, and has been for a while. ”
“Human life remains the paramount value for Ukrainians, so we might withdraw from certain areas, only to reclaim them later,” the official said.
Ukraine’s National Guard denied earlier claims by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that Ukrainian forces in Lysychansk were encircled. According to the National Guard, the city is not surrounded and is still heavily contested.
Putin declared revised aims of the war in Ukraine on June 30, saying that Moscow intends to capture Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in their entirety.