Russian forces were on Monday ordered to push deeper into Eastern Ukraine, as local officials warned civilians to flee the front-line after the capture of Lysychansk.
After a months-long battle over the Luhansk Oblast, Vladimir Putin instructed his troops to “press ahead” with Moscow’s offensive in the Donbas region.
“Military units, including the East group and the West group, must carry out their tasks according to previously approved plans,” the Russian leader told Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister.
During a meeting between the pair on Monday, Putin said he had received plans from two senior generals on “how to continue the offensive operation”.
“Units that took part in active hostilities and secured a victory in the direction of Luhansk should certainly get some rest and replenish their combat capabilities,” the Russian leader added.
Hours after Moscow declared victory over Lysychansk – the final Ukrainian-held city in Luhansk – a Russian artillery barrage on Slovyansk, some 40 miles from the fallen town, killed at least six civilians and left dozens injured.
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