Lysychansk assured the Ukrainian army that "is not surrounded" on Saturday, July 2, after the Russian-backed separatists declared earlier that they had "totally" surrounded the city of eastern Ukraine. This was in response to intense fighting which has been taking place in recent days.
"Fighting is raging in Lysychansk. "Fortunately, the city has not been surrounded and is under the control of Ukrainian army," Rouslan Mouzychuk said to Ukrainian television. He denied an earlier information provided by a representative of Lugansk separatist arm.
Andrei Marotchko (a representative of the Lugansk separatist arm) was quoted as saying: "The Lugansk People's Militia [l'armee separaiste, NDLR] has occupied the last strategic heights. This allows us to confirm that Lyssytchansk's location is completely surrounded."
Lysychansk, the last major city of the Lugansk area under the control of the Ukrainian army is Lysychansk.
It is the twin to Severodonetsk. Moscow conquered it last week after the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops after a lengthy battle that lasted several weeks. They are separated by the Donets River.
The Russian army would then be able to advance on Sloviansk or Kramatorsk, the two other major cities in Donbass' industrial region, which is largely Russian-speaking, and which Moscow wants to conquer.